Bengaluru: With young Rishabh Pant facing flak for his poor glovework, India’s legendary wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani has emphasised on the need to groom youngsters before being called up for India duty.

In the ongoing India-West Indies T20I series, Pant has faced criticism from fans. When he dropped a catch in the second game in Thiruvananthapuram, spectators started chanting Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s name, for which captain Virat Kohli was not happy.

Also read: 'Keep your eyes away from Rishabh Pant', says Rohit Sharma

Also, the 22-year-old has got Decision Review System (DRS) calls wrong resulting in fans demanding Dhoni’s return. Dhoni has not played for India since the team’s semi-final exit at the ICC World Cup 2019 in England in July.

When MyNation contacted 69-year-old Kirmani to ask about Pant’s current situation and his wicketkeeping technique, the 1983 World Cup winner said he is ready to help the Delhi youngster.

“One must understand that everybody is not Sachin Tendulkar. A youngster needs to be groomed first and then only picked for international duty. I too was an understudy to Farokh Engineer in the 1970s. How did I last for 15 years? It was because I was groomed,” Kirmani, who played 88 Tests, told MyNation on Monday (December 9).

Without taking Pant’s name, Kirmani explained, “It is generally known, when a cricketer enters the field and doesn’t perform as per the expectations of the spectators, cricket lovers, at the stadium, obviously criticism does take place.”

He further continued, “Now, as a youngster, all of a sudden if he is inducted at the international level, this is how one falters. It has happened with Parthiv Patel also in the past. He was called up for the Indian team after playing at the Under-19 level. So, grooming has to take place to a promising youngster. It should happen under the right guidance through the right people.

“Experienced international cricketers, from the point of wicketkeeping, who have done yeomen service to the country and have been acknowledged as one of the best in the world, should be roped in, that is yours sincerely. I have never been asked (by the BCCI) to talk to any promising young wicketkeeper in India.

Kirmani said for a wicketkeeper right technique was important. “Technique is very important (for a wicketkeeper). When you have proper technique, you take good catches, effect good stumpings. Even those who don’t have good technique have taken stunning catches and made impressive stumpings. It doesn’t mean that you ignore proper wicketkeeping technique.”

When queried whether he is ready to help Pant, he readily agreed but added that he is disappointed that the BCCI has not approached him.

“It has been my approach right (to coach youngsters) from the time when I was removed from the Indian team when I was at the pinnacle of my career. I have been the director of Karnataka cricket academy.

“I am disappointed that the BCCI has not utilised by services. The BCCI has never given an opportunity to share my little experience of international cricket, with budding cricketers.”

The Bengalurean said if a player is not performing well at the international level, he should be sent back to play domestic matches and also to the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

“According to me, if a player is not performing consistently for India, he should be rested, sent back to play domestic tournament, and also to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. He should be groomed under experts,” Kirmani signed off.

With former India captain Sourav Ganguly taking over as the new president of BCCI, let us hope he dials Kirmani and other legends’ numbers to help talented youngsters.