Kohli pleads with fans to respect Rishabh

Wednesday 11th December 2019 05:13 EST

Indian skipper Virat Kohli backed under-fire Rishabh Pant and asserted that it was a “collective responsibility” to protect the young wicketkeeper-batsman. Pant copped a lot of flak in recent times due to his poor form with the bat and lacklustre work behind the stumps. Poor DRS calls added to his woes.

Ahead of the first T20I against Windies, Kohli reiterated what Rohit Sharma had said after the Bangladesh series: leave Pant alone. “We certainly believe in Rishabh’s ability,” Kohli said. “When you say it’s the player’s responsibility to work hard, perform and do all those things, I agree. But I think it’s the collective responsibility of everyone around to give that player some space to do so,” he stressed. Kohli also said he expects the crowd in India to get behind the youngster, who was booed in the home series against Bangladesh last month.

“If he misses a chance, people can’t shout MS (Dhoni) in the stadium. It’s not respectful, if I have to put it that way. No player would like that to happen. If you’re playing in your own country, you should get the support. No one wants to be in that position. As Rohit rightly pointed out, he needs to be left alone. We know he’s a match-winner and once he comes good you will see a different version of him - which you’ve seen in the IPL already. He can’t be isolated to an extent that he gets nervous on the field. If you want him to do well and win matches for the team, all of us collectively need to make him feel like he belongs,” he added.

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