India skipper Virat Kohli has lent his support to underfire Rishabh Pant, saying the team has belief in the young wicketkeeper's ability and therefore he will be given all the support by the management to perform.
"We certainly believe in Rishabh's ability. As you say, it's (also) the player's responsibility to do well, but our responsibility is to give him space, to support him. He should get support and it is disrespectful if you don't get it," Kohli said on the eve of the first T20I of the three-match series against West Indies starting Friday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
"As Rohit (Sharma) said recently, he needs to be left alone, he is a match-winner. Once he comes good, you will see a very different version of him. He can't be isolated to such an extent that he doesn't do well. We are here to do things for him," he added.
Ever since Pant replaced Dhoni in the limited-overs circuit, he has been criticised by many, be it for his batting, wicket-keeping skills or be his role when it comes to reviews.
In the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh which India won last month, the 21-year-old was criticised for his slow batting and poor decision-making when it came to helping stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma regarding the DRS calls.
Following that, Rohit had asked people to keep their focus away from Pant and allow him to work on his game.
"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 Rishabh Pant for a while," Rohit had said.
"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," he added.