rishabh pant
Rishabh Pant (AFP Photo)

Sourav Ganguly has termed Rishabh Pant an exceptional talent and the future of Indian cricket but has also advised him to keep his game simple. He was referring to his attempt at a reverse scoop at a crucial stage of India’s chase in the first T20I against Australia in Brisbane which resulted in his dismissal.

India went on to lose the match by a close four-run margin.

“The Australians should count themselves extremely lucky to have won at Brisbane,” Ganguly wrote in his column for The Times of India on Sunday. “India was taking the game away when a poor shot by Rishabh Pant tilted things the hosts’ way.”

While praising Pant’s ability with the bat, Ganguly said the young wicketkeeper-batsman would do well to learn from his captain Virat Kohli on how not to complicate game.

“Pant is an exceptional talent and is the future of Indian cricket. His run scoring ability, that too all around the wicket, is remarkable. But one thing he quickly needs to learn from his captain Virat Kohli, who is such a fine example of this concept, is how to keep the game simple. I am sure with time, Pant will learn,” he wrote.

Rain ruined India’s chances of drawing level in Melbourne. The tourists had done well to keep Australian batsmen under control with a combined bowling effort at the MCG.

However, the contest was called-off after rain continued to delay Indian chase.

“India must be feeling very disappointed to have missed out on a chance to square the series after rain washed out the second T20 against Australia at Melbourne on Friday. It was a good toss to win and the Indian seamers utilised the conditions very well, and took advantage of the weaknesses of Australian batting,” Ganguly observed.

When the rain had halted the proceedings in the 2nd T20I, Australia had reached 132/7 in 19 overs. Indian seamers blew away their top-order after Kohli opted to field under an overcast sky.

Ganguly said the Australian batsmen failed to adjust to the conditions. “While the first two matches were played at the Gabba and MCG, respectively, the final one on Sunday is at the SCG. Conditions at all the three venues are different.

“Brisbane had pace and bounce which is a big help for all types of shot-making. The MCG has always posed different type of a challenge. It is lot slower and lot spongier and the Australian batting just didn’t adjust at all and played the same way from where they left off at the Gabba. The grounds at Australia are huge and it is not easy to clear the fence, especially at the MCG, so it was not surprising that the Aussie batters kept finding fielders in the deep on Friday.”

The third and final T20I of the three-match series will be played in Sydney on Sunday and Ganguly is expecting the pitch there to be full of runs. “Sydney will provide completely different challenge, as it will be the flattest of all the three pitches. Generally, touring teams expect it to spin in Sydney but as this is still early in the season, I don’t think that will be the case,” he said.

He expressed his surprise at the tight scheduling of the series. “India go to Sydney for the third T20 but I am indeed amazed by the schedule! Three games over just five days in Australia is tough, especially when flights are so long in Australia,” he said.