Nagpur, Nov 9: Stand-in India captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday strongly backed an under-fire Rishabh Pant and asked the critics to give some breathing space to the young wicketkeeper-batsman, so that he can play with full freedom .
Rishabh Pant has been under the scanner in the recent times for his injudicious shot selections. He became the centre of unwanted attention due to his poor glovework in the second T20 against Bangladesh in Rajkot.
While addressing reporters on the eve of third T20I, Rohit said, ''You know there is a lot of talk happening about Rishabh Pant every day, every minute. I just feel that he needs to be allowed to do what he wants to do on the field. I would request everyone to keep their eyes away from him for a while.
"He is a fearless cricketer and we (team management) want him to have that freedom. And if you guys take your eyes off him for sometime, it will allow him to perform even better," the Indian skipper added.
Playing at his home ground in a series opener in Delhi, Pant managed to score just 27 off 26 balls and also made errors in calling for DRS as India suffered their first-ever loss against Bangladesh in a T20I.
Despite all this, Rohit strongly backed Pant, saying the 22-year-old has just started his international career.
"He is a young guy, 22, trying to make his mark in the international cricket. Every move he makes on the field, people start talking about him. It is not fair. I think we should allow him to play his cricket, which actually he also wants to do," stated the Hitman.
"Focus on him a lot more when he is doing good things also, not just bad things. He has been learning, there have been times he has kept well also. He is trying to do what the team management wants him to do'', he added.
Pant has scored 352 runs in 22 T20I games at 20.70, while in 12 ODI matches, he has scored 229 runs at 22.90. (UNI)