Has Pant turned a corner?

Key knock: Rishabh Pant put his head down and bided his time before playing some of his trademark shots.

Key knock: Rishabh Pant put his head down and bided his time before playing some of his trademark shots.  


Mature display may have silenced his critics

No current Indian cricketer has been under such immense pressure as Rishabh Pant. The 22-year-old wicket-keeper-batsman’s poor run with the bat has seen him being dropped from the Test side. And at various venues across the country Pant has received hostile reaction from fans chanting ‘Dhoni Dhoni’ following a messed up DRS review or dropped catch.

Coming into the first ODI here on Sunday, there were suggestions from even the team management that the option of K.L. Rahul donning the gloves could be considered at some point in case Pant’s form did not improve.

But the stylish batsman silenced a lot of his critics with a mature display on a difficult Chepauk wicket — it was slow and the ball was not coming on to the bat for freestyle strokeplay.

Biding his time

When he walked in at number five, India was in a spot of bother at 80/3 in the 19th over. But Pant put his head down, bided his time before playing some of his trademark shots for a 69-ball 71 and stringing a crucial partnership with Shreyas Iyer.

The left-handed batsman took six balls to get off the mark and had only eight off the first 17 balls faced before hitting his first boundary, a nice flick through mid-wicket playing it late off Alzari Joseph. He then took calculated risks against off-spinner Roston Chase, first a pull through midwicket and then going down on his knees to sweep the bowler over mid-wicket for a six.

Classic Pant shot

He then hit Holder for two quick boundaries. The first was a classic Pant shot — moving across the off-stump, crouching and shovelling it over square leg. He followed it up with one straight back past the bowler to quickly move to 47 off the same number of balls.

Two balls later he had his first ODI fifty and showed what batting coach Vikram Rathour had meant on Saturday when he said Pant has an X factor about him after being asked why he was being persisted with.

As a pleasant surprise, the crowd in Dhoni’s adopted home Chennai backed the youngster with chants of ‘Rishabh Pant... Rishabh Pant...’. The Delhi youngster might have just turned the corner with this knock.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:42:14 PM |

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