Christchurch: India captain Virat Kohli on Monday jumped to the rescue of the under-fire Rishabh Pant, saying that the wicket-keeper batsman has had a "lot of chances" but the team is not contemplating to try someone else in the youngster's place just yet as one player can't be singled out in a collective failure.
Pant has been under the scanner for the past one year because of his inconsistent run. His tally of 60 runs across four innings in the 0-2 Test series loss to New Zealand, which concluded here on Monday, has only amplified the debate whether it was prudent to leave out a keeper of Wriddhiman Saha's calibre and back Pant.
"...we have given him (Pant) a lot of chances in the home season as well starting from Australia. Then he was not playing for a bit. In turn he really worked hard on himself," Kohli came to Pant's defence after the series here.
"You need to figure out when is the right time to give someone else a chance. If you push people too early, they can lose confidence. We failed collectively. I don't believe in singling him out. We take the hit together as a group whether it's the batting group or as a team."
When asked if he believes Pant has taken his place in the side for granted, Kohli made it clear that the culture of this team doesn't encourage anyone to think along those lines. "I don't see anyone taking his place for granted in this team. That's the culture we have set. People are told to take responsibilities and work hard. Whether it happens or not is a different thing. Then you can have a conversation with the players," he said, adding that no one has come to New Zealand thinking he is going to play every game or he is indispensable.
Kohli, just like head coach Ravi Shastri, made it clear that Pant can make a difference in overseas conditions and he won't like to deviate during future tours. "The time that he didn't play, he really worked hard on his game. So we thought this is the right time because of his game and the way he plays because he can make a difference lower down the order.
"That was our planning behind it. We can't really fluctuate when it comes to what we planned," he added....