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'Now there is a method to his madness'

By HARISH KOTIAN
March 11, 2021 15:02 IST
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'It is systematic chaos, it is organised chaos.'

Rishabh Pant

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant celebrates after scoring a century in the fourth Test against England in Ahmedabad, March 5, 2021. Photograph: BCCI
 

Rishabh Pant's exploits with the bat powered India to a Test series win in Australia in January before he gave another exhibition of his power-packed batting against England.

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta got a chance to observe Pant during the England Tests while doing commentary for Star Sports. He was generous in his praise for the Delhi youngster, who he says deserves all the credit for his smashing comeback after losing his place in the Indian team in all three formats last year.

"The credit goes to him and him only. He was in isolation for 6-8 months, he kept his head and he has come back strongly. He was the No 1 wicket-keeper for India (in the 2019-2020 season) and then suddenly within six months he was not a Test player, he was not even in ODIs or T20s," Dasgupta tells Harish Kotian/Rediff.com.

Dasgupta points out that the youngster has shown great maturity to learn from his mistakes and improve as a cricketer.

Pant played a superb innings of 97 in the Sydney Test which gave India hopes of an unlikely win before Hanuma Vihari (23 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (39 not out) batted out nearly two sessions to draw the match.

Then, Pant steered India home in the next Test with an incredible innings of 89 not out as India chased down a stiff target of 328 runs on the final day to create history by winning a second successive series in Australia.

Dasgupta says Pant has gotten over the mistakes he made at the start of his career, which was to throw his wicket away after getting off to starts, which has taken his batting to another level.

"As far as his batting is concerned, we knew he was talented, there was never a doubt with this talent but the only question mark was that he was getting out. He was scoring the 20s and 30s and then give it all away with a bad shot," says Dasgupta.

"The biggest challenge with someone like Rishabh is that you can't really tell him much because you don't want him to lose that natural instinct that he, you don't want to curtail that natural instinct, you still want him to play his shots and be as dangerous as he is, you don't want to change that aspect of his game," explains Dasgupta.

"On the other hand, you also want him to learn from the mistakes that he has made and try and learn to pick the right deliveries. If you see the last couple of series that is what he has done, he has picked the right deliveries, so his shot selection has improved, his ball selection has improved," says the former former Bengal stumper who played eight Tests and five ODIs for India.

"Now there is a method to his madness, to this chaos, it is systematic chaos, it is organised chaos."

Rishabh Pant

Against England, Pant smashed two fifties and a century in six innings.

He counter-attacked his way to a match-winning century (101) on a turning track in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad, which lifted India to a 3-1 series and a place in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in June.

Pant's glovework, which came under criticism in the past, impressed observers as he produced some amazing catches and stumpings off the Indian spinners on turning pitches.

Stressing the changes that has helped Pant improve his keeping, Dasgupta says: "The biggest thing that he is done is gathering the ball besides his body so there is more room for him to catch and the hands are smoother when you catch besides your body but when you catch in front of your body, there is a jerk and all."

"The bottomline is the fact that he is a little more upright and catching besides his body."

"You are looking at someone like Rishabh at No 5 or No 6 and now with Hardik Pandya back and Rishabh also there, suddenly you are looking at players who can score 50 runs in the last three to four overs in T20s, you have these guys who can get you 20 off the last 10 balls."

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