Ian Chappell, former Australia captain has said that the spirit of wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant epitomizes India’s confident and attacking approach in modern-day cricket.
Rishabh Pant has been in the remarkable form off late as he played a crucial knock in the fourth and final Test against England which also saw him reverse-sweeping James Anderson when he was coming to bowl with the second new ball.
Ian Chappell: Rishabh Pant Has Evolved As A Keeper Too Besides Heroics With Bat In Australia And Against England
The young Indian batsman has played match-winning knocks off late. In January this year against Australia, Rishabh Pant played a match-winning knock against Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane as India went on to win four-match series 2-1 Down Under against all odds with a second-string side as key players were injured or unavailable.
“Pant was read the riot act in Australia when he turned up overweight. He then ‘worked his backside off’, according to the coach, and was reinstated in the team after the Indian debacle at Adelaide Oval. What followed has been a revelation. Pant has produced three innings that changed the course of a Test with mature counterattacking when the team was in trouble. Most players don’t contribute that many in a career,” Ian Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“Not content with just batting heroics, Pant has also evolved as a keeper when standing up to the spinners, going from fumbling to fabulous in the space of a few weeks. Pant is a popular player on the Indian side and his spirit epitomizes the team’s confident, attacking approach to the game. England has players who could provide a similar stimulus to their team. What they lack is a conducive environment,” Ian Chappell added.
Rishabh Pant scored 274 runs in 3 Tests in Australia averaging 68.5. He scored 91,11, unbeaten 58, 8, and 101 in the 5 innings against England. He managed 270 runs against England averaging 54.
Ian Chappell is the eldest of the three Chappell brothers to play for Australia. Predominantly a right-handed batsman who could bowl a bit of leg-spin, Ian Chappell was known for his nonchalance while hooking and pulling short balls in an era where the batsmen shunned helmets.
Ian Chappell: Rishabh Pant Was Scared Of Nothing As He Was Confident And Played Balancing Aggression With Caution
The performances in Test format have also seen Rishabh Pant earning his place back in India’s T20I squad. Although he was not able to post a big score in the first T20I against England, the hosts would be hoping that he continues to play an attacking brand of cricket.
“In modern India, the players are more confident and aggressive. This attitude is boosted further on reaching the international arena by the positive encouragement of the leadership group of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, and Ravi Shastri. Then there’s the IPL. It has resulted in Indian players being exposed to more international thinking and training, which has had a positive effect on both cricketers and coaches,” said Chappell.
“Pant was scared of… well, nothing actually. The chirpy Indian keeper, armed with a supremely confident disposition, played each innings balancing aggression with appropriate caution. His approach of “see the ball and hit it” is a simple one but it’s fortified by the common-sense approach of always looking for opportunities to score,” he added.
Rishabh Pant, who has put together a string of impressive performances for India since the Test series against Australia, scoring four fifties and one century in the last seven Tests, played the first game in Ahmedabad on Friday, 12th March where he scored 21 off 23 balls including 2 fours and a six. The performances in Test cricket have also helped him in moving to the seventh spot in ICC Test batsmen rankings.
Rishabh Pant’s average has been less than 30 and he has managed only 3 fifties in both the limited-overs formats combined as he has most often gifted his wicket but he will look to make amends in the remaining 4 T20Is and if selected in the 3 ODIs that follows the T20I series.