There is a method to his madness and India dasher Rishabh Pant seems to have cracked the code. His shot selection and no-holds-barred batting tactic may have drawn some flak, but Pant has managed to evolve into a pivotal element of the Indian team, irrespective of the format. The 24-year-old was also elevated as India skipper during the South Africa T20Is, having captained Delhi Capitals too in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
It seemed that Pant had lost his place in the playing XI in the 20-over format following an inconsistent run in 2020 and 2021. The maverick player was also reckoned a second-choice wicketkeeper behind Wriddhiman Saha going into India’s 2021-22 Test series in Australia. However, Saha’s injury opened the door for Pant to prove his worth. He pounced at the opportunity to become one of the protagonists of India’s historic win Down Under.
The left-hander won the Player of the Match award at the Gabba where he hit an unbeaten 89 off 138 balls, decorated with nine fours and a six. The Test triumph proved to be the perfect impetus for Pant’s international career, as he has since become a mainstay in all three formats.
Former India fielding coach R Sridhar said Pant remained unperturbed about his performance in Australia. He narrated how Rohit Sharma told the youngster about what he had done with the willow.
“We were in the team room and Rohit (Sharma) came and he told Rishabh…tujhe pata nahi hai tune kya kiya hai aaj (you don’t know what you have done). And Rishabh was just normal, as if he had scored a 90-odd in a hot weather tournament in Delhi,” Sridhar told cricket.com.
“It’s good that he has not set the world on fire in white ball cricket, which means there is plenty to come. I can assure you that there is some serious big stuff on the way. We saw what he did in Manchester. If that’s any indication, wear your seat belts. Don’t worry about what has happened in the past. The future is bright,” he added.
Sridhar also backed Pant’s leadership and predicted the stumper will get better with time. Citing MS Dhoni’s example, he explained how Pant can excel in the captaincy role.
“I think no one is born with all the skills. Any skill that any person possesses is born out of the situation that he has been in and learned. MS grew up playing with adults and elderly kids. That is where he picked up all his cricketing acumen,” Sridhar said.
“Rishabh has grown up in a similar kind of environment. He grew up playing with big achievers. That is where he picks his cricket smartness from. He is going to be a leader in the future. Once he starts separating his leadership from his batsmanship, then that is entertainment confirmed.”