Rishabh Pant has become the toast of the cricketing fraternity since playing the match-winning knock of unbeaten 89 against Australia to win the Brisbane Test for India last week.
From comparisons with Ben Stokes’s Headingley heroics to Kusal Perera’s Durban destruction, Rishabh Pant’s innings was compared with the very best of the best by cricket pundits and fans alike.
Rishabh Pant: Mindset Was Always To Play Normal Cricket
Shubman Gill’s 91 and Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89 set the tone on the final day of the fourth Test which helped India pull off the highest successful run chase (328) at the Gabba and become the first team after the West Indies to beat Australia at that venue which had become a fortress since 1988.
Rishabh Pant hit the winning runs, a boundary off Josh Hazlewood to finish the match with just 3 overs left to spare, and later picked up the Player of the Match trophy for a truly memorable knock which made the stiff target possible as India clinched the series 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the 2nd time in a row in Australia.
Speaking to renowned journalist Boria Majumdar on the latest episode of Sports Today, Rishabh Pant said he was always focused on going after the target as a draw was never an option in his mind.
“The mindset was always to play normal cricket, even the team management spoke about it in the first innings. Let’s look to score runs, cash in on the loose balls, just stick in there and do whatever you can at that time. The team management’s plan from the beginning of the match was ‘let’s look to win the match’. Even my thinking has always been to win. I just want to win every game, draw is always the secondary option,” Pant said on Sports Today.
Rishabh Pant got a lucky break when the Australian skipper Tim Paine missed a chance to stump the left-hander off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The very next ball he stepped down the track and deposited the ball into the long-on stands, much to the surprise of Nathan Lyon.
Rishabh Pant: If The Ball Lands In My Area Then It Has To Be Hit Out Of Ground
The 23-year-old dashing keeper explained that there was a method behind the madness and he only went after balls which pitched in his hitting zone.
“When you’re looking to leave a ball that’s turning a lot on the pitch then it’s fine but if you’re going to play a shot then chances are that you can miss it because normally the ball doesn’t deviate as much. At that time I thought ‘one ball turned so much and Lyon is such an experienced bowler so he will try to turn one away from the stumps.”
“I knew he was going to try and spin one away from the stumps so I was ready to step out and hit him if he bowls a tossed up delivery. Otherwise I hadn’t planned that I was going to step out and look to hit a big shot in any case. But if the ball lands in my area then I think it has to be hit out of the ground,” Pant said.
Rishabh Pant emerged highest run-getter for India and 3rd highest run-scorer in series with 274 runs in 3 Tests averaging 68.5. Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked for the first two Tests in the home series against England next month and it remains to be seen whether the team think tank will play the veteran as a specialist wicketkeeper or include dashing keeper Rishabh Pant after his heroics in Sydney(97) and Brisbane(89*).