Rishabh Pant has been a steady recipient of the public ire for throwing away his starts in ODI cricket.

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“Can we have Sanju Samson in place of Rishabh Pant?”

“Not only is Rishabh poor as a batsman, but his wicketkeeping skills are poor as well.”

“If life is an opportunity, I am Rishabh Pant.”

Social media was rife with trolls on India’s wicket-keeper batsman, Rishabh Pant, after he threw his wicket away after a decent start at Trinidad in the second ODI against West Indies. From suggestions for Pant to bat at No. 7 to replacing him with Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson, social media users were judgemental about the young batsman’s brash attitude in any situation.

Pant has batted in just nine innings in his 11 ODIs so far and has been moved around in the batting order. Latest, he has been earmarked as the next No. 4, a spot that has been under heavy scrutiny in the Indian ODI side. With a triple hundred in first-class cricket and the fastest century in Ranji Trophy (off 48 balls), Pant was always believed to make a seamless transition to International cricket.

But things haven’t quite panned out per expectations and after nine innings, Pant averages just 25.44.Mediocre, right?

But what is perhaps more mediocre is an average of 22.77 after nine innings that includes two ducks. These are Sachin Tendulkar’s numbers after his first nine ODIs. The ‘Master Blaster’ had a very similar start to his ODI career as Pant, something the trollers seemed to have forgotten. He began his career with back-to-back ducks and had just one half-century after nine innings. In fact, he made his first ton in the format after 79 ODIs.

After first 9 ODI innings

Metrics

Sachin

Pant

Runs

205

229

Average

22.77

25.44

50s

1

0

Highest Score

53

48

Ducks

2

0

Pant, meanwhile, has Test hundreds in Australia and England, and hasn’t been all that poor with his scores as is made out to be. The youngster has made tons of runs in the Indian T20 League and was among the top-three by any batsman in the last two seasons combined. He has scored runs in Ranji cricket and showcased potential in his short limited-overs career.

Read: Pant's recklessness once again stands out in India's mini-collapse

But in this day and age where instant gratification is sought after, Pant’s slow start has irked the armchair critics. That Kishan and Samson are in the wings further give them pointers to bash Pant and his imbalanced shots. That his technique works for him – something also true of greats like Virender Sehwag and  Hashim Amla – is often forgotten.

Like Tendulkar, even Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Hashim Amla had slow starts to their careers. India even persisted with Rohit Sharma for years before the returns started showing. Unlike these guys, Pant has already made his name in international cricket with Test hundreds in difficult conditions. It is only a matter of time before that translates into limited-overs runs. Can we bear his shenanigans with some patience until then, though? That’s a question waiting to be answered.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sena Vidanagama & Dibyangshu Sarkar