Rishabh Pant put on quite a show in the 3rd and 4th Test against Australia notching up successive 4th innings half-centuries in back to back Test matches. He narrowly missed out on a century in the 3rd Test at Sydney when he was out for 97. But Pant went one step ahead in the next game when he helped India win a historic game against Australia at Gabba, Brisbane. He has sent out a gauntlet to the world saying he is one of the finest wicketkeeper-batsman in the game.
Pant notched up 274 runs in the Test series and scored his runs at an outstanding average of 68.50. He stunned and shocked the Australians in equal measure. His breathtaking stroke play dazzled the fans who were taken aback by the courage and gumption shown by Pant. He combined forces with Cheteshwar Pujara in a match-winning partnership which took the game away from the Aussies. Justin Langer, the Australian coach compared Pant’s innings to Ben Stokes’s knock at Headingly.
Cricket experts and fans have gone gaga over Rishabh Pant’s performance. Former Indian cricketer, Suresh Raina has joined the bandwagon too. It is no secret that Pant admires Raina. The duo spent quite a lot of time together during the lockdown. It was the time where Pant was facing severe criticism from the media and all he wanted was somebody who could listen to him. He didn’t necessarily need any advice from Raina as such but needed a shoulder on whom he could lean.
Pant’s heartfelt conversation with Raina:
Pant told Raina that, “Bhaiya, I want to be the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world.” Raina went on to add that, “I really didn’t have much to do with it. He is a young cricketer bursting with talent who in my view is set to become a great player for India. Back in June, he’d just come off a not so good time with the bat. There was a lot of talk about him. So, he just wanted a break from it all, from the media and from everything. All he wanted me to do was listen. He wasn’t looking for me to give anything, forget a solution.”
Suresh Raina the senior pro played the mentor’s role to perfection for Rishabh Pant. Raina stated that “When we weren’t at training, he would be home all day, playing with my kids, chatting with the wife. Me and Rishabh watched a lot of comedies on Netflix, ate a lot of good food, whatever he felt like eating and just chatted away. We would go for drives around the city, either in his yellow car or at times in mine. We would listen to the music that we both enjoy. It was all so positive and even during those drives, he would open up a lot, and all I did was let him talk.” How heartening it is to see a senior Indian cricketer take a young and upcoming player under his wings. Indian cricket surely is in safe hands.