Rishab Pant: A Combination Finally Coming Right.

It was a hot evening in Sydney on the 10th of January. The Indian openers were trying to tackle their way through the fiery opening spell of the Australian pacers on the 4th day of the 4th Test. Meanwhile, there was a certain southpaw who was sweating it out in the nets with a strap over his arm. Rishab Pant, the 5’’7 tall wicketkeeper-batsman looked in discomfort as he tried to gauge where he stood before an all important day in Indian Cricket’s
history. India went on to pull off a draw the next day, a draw which was bigger than most victories the country had
ever seen.
Cut to 30th of March, 2021, Rishab Pant was now appointed as the captain of the Delhi Capitals in absence of Shreyas Iyer. He is now the toast of the entire nation. But people following his career off late would know how success has been far from easy for him.

The last 12 months for him have been just like his approach at the crease, unpredictable and eventful. A
concussion against the Australians at the Wankhede was just enough to move him out of the limited overs squad for a while. He then went on to score a meagre 343 runs in the 2020 edition of the IPL at an average of 31.18 with an uncharacteristically low strike-rate of 113.95.

He was then snubbed for the white ball leg of the Australian Tour. Pundits and fans alike were quick enough to write him off. What followed in the red ball format was sensational. A fitter, leaner and a more aware Pant almost pulled the rabbit out of the hat on the 11th of January on Day 5 of the 3rd Test in spite of being in pain one day before that mind boggling innings.
At Gabba, ‘Spidey-Pant’ as he is fondly called, boxed and punched the Australians out of the Test at their fortress. His heroics were just a testimony of why he was being backed by the team management all these years. He left Lyon’s tempting tossed-up deliveries outside off, played his shots, calculated well and finished the game for the team.

His interview with sports journalist made it very evident that there is a method to his madness. We knew him to be a ruthless, brute hitter of the cricket ball but now, it’s all about understanding the calculations behind his moves.

The expression which England veteran, James Anderson with 614 Test wickets gave after being reverse-scooped over slips with the new ball, was just an evidence of Rishab’s impact on the situation. The reverse-scoops, the reverse-sweeps are nothing but a by-product of the amalgamation of his madness and accurate calculations. 

 Maintaining this combination would be the key. It is highly probable that a player of his game style could go through a rough patch again. Will the fans and the pundits write him off again? Public memory in India is short, the list of players on the bench is a long one.

Come what may, Rishab Pant, according to me, is here to stay for a very long time. And as long as he plays, there will be no dearth of entertainment, irrespective of
whether he is standing in front of the wickets or behind them.

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