When Rishabh Pant was picked for the West Indies tour, there was a lot of talk about giving him a long rope and grooming the young man for the future. He was travelling to the West Indies as the primary wicket-keeper and hence, the spotlight was solely on him. However, in the first two matches, he was disappointing and there was a lot of pressure on the young man to stand up and perform.
In the third match, India were chasing down a target of 147 and the stage was set up for Rishabh Pant to combine with his captain and take India over the line. The young man did not disappoint and this time, he took his time and then got going. There were a number of typical Pant strokes, but he was more consistent and willing to take the side over the line. The 21-year-old stayed unbeaten and this drew praise from the captain who hailed him as the future of Indian cricket.
'He has come a long way'
"We are looking at him (Rishabh Pant) as the future. He's got a lot of skill and lot of talent. It is about giving him some space and not putting too much of pressure. He's come a long way since he's started," Kohli said after the match.
The skipper also said that as of now, they are not thinking too much about the 2023 World Cup as the priority right now is to be a consistent side and keep Indian cricket on top.
"2023 is too far ahead to be honest," said the 30-year-old during the post-match press conference after the thirdT20I. "You start looking forward to the World Cup and planning for it 12 months prior. Not four years away. I think the priority is to keep Indian cricket at the top. Play consistent cricket, go out there and win games."
Kohli also lauded the effort of young Deepak Chahar and said that he used the conditions to his advantage and like the IPL, he got the ball to swing and made life difficult for the batsmen.
"We set out to get the results that we wanted and we've achieved that. Deepak stepped up today. I think all the bowlers were on the mark. This was a much better wicket that what we saw in Miami. Very similar to Bhuvi, his (Deepak Chahar) skill with the new ball is right up there. That's been his USP in the IPL as well," Kohli said.
After this whitewash, the Indian team will now take on West Indies in a 3-match ODI series after which they will lock horns with the hosts in a 2-match Test series which will be a part of the World Test Championship.