Rishabh Pant was initially not included in the World Cup 2019 squad but was later called after Vijay Shankar and Shikhar Dhawan got injured amid the tournament. Mohammad Kaif reveals that Pant was demotivated after his name was not announced for the mega event. Then the youngster was encouraged by Delhi Capital’s coach.
Rishabh Pant’s name came in limelight after he had a prolific 2018-2019 domestic season. He became Delhi’s youngest captain to lead them in the grand-finale of the Ranji Trophy. In 2018, he was called in the Test team against England where he scored a century.
Pant showed his power with the bat against Australia in the historic Test series win in 2019. He became a known player after his blistering performance in IPL 2019 when Delhi Capitals reached its first knock-out rounds.
However, all these efforts could not let the youngster earn the place in the World Cup. He was upset and feeling bad but he was motivated by the former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif.
You have already made a name for yourself: Mohammad Kaif
“His name was not there, and he felt quite low. He is quite an emotional person. He started feeling bad immediately afterwards that he was not selected,” Kaif said.
“We picked up on those things. So, we spoke to him a lot. We told him – ‘you are quite young, at the age of 20-21, a player just starts his career. You have already made a name for yourself. You have already won the matches for your team.”
We spoke to him on his mental thoughts: Mohammad Kaif
Kaif said that he had a conversation with Pant and shared his thoughts. He also made the youngster realise how big a player he is.
“None of us ever had any doubts that he will not be a big player, or he will not perform. We have always maintained that ‘you are a good player, you will get your chance. Just keep doing what you are doing, keep winning matches like you have been doing every year’. We spoke to him on his mental thoughts,” Kaif said.
However, Rishabh Pant could not perform to the best of his abilities in the mega event. India eventually lost to New Zealand in the semifinal and was eliminated from the tournament.