Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Sanjay Manjrekar has praised Rishabh Pant for playing an unselfish knock on Day 3 of the 3rd and final Cape Town Test against South Africa. While the batter eventually got to three figures, according to Sanjay Manjrekar, his sole focus was on extending the Indian second innings as much as possible.

The 24-year-old batter scored an unbeaten 100 off 139 balls on Thursday (13 January). However, India was all out for only 198 in 67.3 overs as the remaining batters put up an insipid display.

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Sanjay Manjrekar: Rishabh Pant Only Focused On Prolonging The Innings As He Played An Unselfish Innings Himself

Praising the youngster, Sanjay Manjrekar said during a discussion that the keeper-batter proved he is a complete team man. Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 100-run knock came off 139 deliveries and was studded with six fours and four sixes. This was Rishabh Pant’s 4th Test ton. He now has Test tons in England, Australia, and South Africa.

The former cricketer stated: “How unselfish was that innings. He was only focused on prolonging that innings, not worried about getting that hundred. He has got out in the 90s a couple of times. This is a guy who plays for his team and that was amply evident.”

Sanjay Manjrekar added: “Lot of big-name batters would have quickly got a hundred and then decided ‘let me see what I can do’. He was constantly thinking of just one goal – to extend the innings.”

Sanjay Manjrekar went back to the backlash the left-hander had received in the previous Test for playing a ‘reckless’ shot. He pointed out that the southpaw played a similar stroke on Thursday but this time the ball went to the boundary as he scored more than half the runs for India.

The 56-year-old added: “There is something unique about this guy. A lot of criticism for the shot he played and got out to Rabada in the last Test match. He played the same shot against Olivier when he was 14 or 18, smacked him four. Virender Sehwag was different, this is a guy who is even more different. Look at the exploits. He scored more than half the runs for the side.”

Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande
Daryll Cullinan PHOTO CREDIT: Mandar Deshpande

Former South African batter Daryll Cullinan described Rishabh Pant’s performance in India’s second innings on Thursday as the knock of the series.

He said in praise of the young dasher: “He (Pant) took on the short ball and actually made it look fairly comfortable. He then got the bowlers to pitch it up and try something else. I have seen highlights of his batting in the past, but this is the first time I have sat down and actually watched the guy play. He is a serious talent. Putting everything else aside, it has been the knock of the series so far.”

Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli (29) featured in a fifth-wicket stand of 94. However, the visitors faltered and ended up losing their last six wickets for 46 runs.

The keeper-batsman had a lean patch in Test cricket since his last hundred at Ahmedabad against England sat home. In 4-match series in England, he scored just 146 runs in 7 innings while in this ongoing series he scored just 86 runs in 5 innings averaging 17.2 before his unbeaten hundred in the last innings of the ongoing series.

Sanjay Manjrekar Criticized Indian Lower Order Batsmen For Throwing Wickets While Playing Unnecessary Lavish Shots

Sanjay Manjrekar criticized India’s lower-order batsmen especially Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah for throwing their wickets away while attempting lavish shots instead of looking to support Rishabh Pant.

He commented: “I have a problem with Mohammed Shami’s shot, especially with Pant at the other end. That was somebody trying to show some bravado. All he had to do was hang in there. With the kind of ability Pant has, who knows, he could have taken 30-40 runs more.”

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

The cricketer-turned-commentator was disappointed with Jasprit Bumrah’s dismissal as well.

He added: “Bumrah too has got caught in this thing with (Marco) Jansen. He wants to show that ‘I am not someone who is scared of fast bowling’. Those shots were like two tailenders trying to set a target with shortage of time. That has to be looked at.”

Chasing a target of 212 to win the Test and the series, South Africa ended Day 3 on a healthy 101/2. Keegan Petersen was unbeaten on 48 while Dean Elgar was dismissed for 30 of what ended up being the last ball of the day. The Proteas is 101/2 at Stump’s needing a further 111 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand and 2 days left.

South Africa 210 and 101 for 2 (Petersen 48*, Elgar 30, Shami 1-22) need another 111 runs to beat India 223 and 198 (Pant 100*, Jansen 4-36, Rabada 3-53, Ngidi 3-21)