The fourth match of the five-ODI-series between India and the visiting Australia was nothing short of a nightmare for the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who missed a couple of stumping opportunities and dropped a few catches at crucial moments of the game as the man responsible behind the wicket.
The blame for the loss can't be completely shifted to Pant's head, as a series of issues occurred during the game, including misjudgement about dew at the time of the toss and Kedar Jadhav and Shikhar Dhawan dropping back to back catches in the final overs.
But because of the fact that former captain and main wicketkeeper of the team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was not a member of the playing XI, the 21-year-old Pant became the magnet to attract all the hate for the loss.
Rishabh Pant's Instagram right now.
Come on Dhoni fans, He doesn't deserve this ð£pic.twitter.com/wUheEEmsEk
This is how Pant's Instagram handle looks like ever since India's second loss of the series which tied the score at 2-2.
Realising the toxicity in the air towards his ward, Pant's childhood coach, Tarak Sinha decided to speak out about the issue and call the Indian audience out on the unfair comparisons between his former student and a seasoned veteran like MS Dhoni.
“Such comparisons are cropping up because, like Dhoni, he (Pant) is also a wicketkeeper-batsman. But it's unfair on him because it puts undue pressure for him to perform in a particular way, and be like Dhoni. He performs the best when his mind is free,” the seasoned coach said.
Reminding one about the early days of wicketkeeping at the hands of the former skipper, Sinha said: “There's a difference between the Pant of today and Dhoni 14-years-ago when he was making his way into the Indian team. Back then, he did not come with the kind of baggage like Pant has. There wasn't any legendary wicketkeeper whom he was replacing.”
“The guys back then were either Dinesh Karthik or Parthiv Patel, players younger to him. So, he (Dhoni) was free from the pressure and expectations that Pant is facing today.”
What is worth commending right now is Pant's mature mentality, for he has shown zero signs of revolt or frustration towards everyone who supported him a couple of months ago during his brilliant run in Australia and turned on him instantly after a game of bad wicket keeping.
Obviously, Pant is nowhere near the skill set of someone like Dhoni, but that doesn't mean that he is no good.