Rishabh Pant did not find a place in the Indian XI in the Test series opener in Australia last year. The highly-rated wicketkeeper-batsman had lost his place in the limited-overs sides despite having been regarded as a potential successor for former India captain MS Dhoni.
It was reported that Rishabh Pant was working to shed a few kilos after he joined Team India in the bio-bubble in Australia following a middling Indian Premier League season with the Delhi Capitals.
Rishabh Pant got an opportunity to get back into the scheme of things in the 2nd Test in Australia and there has been no looking back since. Pant, as Deep Dasgupta pointed out on Friday, has turned his potential and talent into performances, shining with both the bat and the gloves in the series wins against Australia in Australia and England at home.
Rishabh Pant was the game-changer for India in Australia as he played blinders in Sydney and Brisbane. He was the main man in India’s historic win at the Gabba as they came back from 0-1 down to take the series 2-1.
Against England at home, Pant quashed all doubts about his wicket-keeping abilities as the young gloveman was brilliant behind the wickets. On spin-friendly pitches, Pant’s improved glovework was on display as he rarely spilled catches and was spot on with his stumpings. As the series progressed, Pant grew in confidence.
In the 4th and final Test, Pant came up with a match-winning 101 wherein his maturity was on display. He mixed caution and aggression beautifully to put the game beyond England’s reach in Ahmedabad.
‘We were hard on Pant’
Speaking to Star Sports after India’s series win on Saturday, head coach Ravi Shastri said the team management had told Rishabh Pant that he needed to respect the game more and that the wicketkeeper-batsman received the message well and worked on his game as hard as he could.
“Simply magnificent [Pant’s performance in England Tests]. We were hard on him. Nothing comes easy. He was told in no uncertain terms that he has got to respect the game a little more. ‘He has got to lose a bit of weight and he has got to work on his keeping’,” Ravi Shastri said.
“He is a genuine match-winner and he has responded. He has worked like hell over the last 3-4 months and the results are showing. I mean, yesterday, his innings was the best counter-attacking innings I have seen in India, especially when it’s spinning and the conditions are not easy.
“For me, it was fearless all the way and more fearless in the first half of the innings. He played against his nature. To go against the grain and build a partnership with Rohit and then break loose when he got the confidence. That rubbed on Washington. His keeping was outstanding,” he added.
Pant finished the 4-Test series against England as the third-highest run-getter with 270 runs, including the hundred in the final Test. Pant also was involved in 13 dismissals, including 8 catches and 5 stumps, as he topped the wicketkeepers’ charts in the series.