Being hailed as the next big thing in Indian cricket, Rishabh Pant has emerged as one of the best young talents in the country. He can score runs and at a quick speed too. His constant run making habit got him selected in the Indian T20I squad against England. Hence, comparisons with MS Dhoni as the next wicket-keeper batsman sensation for India was inevitable but Rishabh Pant even at such a young age is carving out a niche for himself in the cricketing fraternity.
While speaking to Sportswallah at The Times of India Sports Awards, he spoke at length on various topics.
Here is the exclusive interview:
When being asked whether he is the next MS Dhoni of Indian cricket, he was quick to rubbish off any such comparison between him and the Captain Cool. He said, “I don’t think about these things. My job is to play good cricket and perform well. Rest is dependent on the selectors. If I will focus on comparisons, then my performance will suffer. That’s why I don’t think about such things.”
Last year has been magnificent for Pant, who scored plenty of runs in the Indian domestic season for Delhi. He was given the reins of Delhi captaincy as well before the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Pant told Sportswallah that it was a little difficult to adjust in the role but the senior pros in the team were of great help. He said, “I had a great experience leading the Delhi team. All the senior players in the side helped a lot. It was little difficult to adjust in the role but because of their help, the job was made easy.”
Being in an Indian dressing room comes with its share of responsibilities too. On being asked whether he felt nervous being there, he replied, “It was one of the best experiences ever. The environment of the senior team dressing room and playing at such a level is a different experience altogether. You are given so much confidence by the seniors. I never felt like I was new in the squad because everyone used to talk so warmly. You will automatically adjust in such an environment.”
And what about pranks? Did anyone play any prank on him as this has been a tradition in Indian team when a newbie arrives? Pant just smiled and said, “Yes, pranks are played with everyone who is new in the dressing room. I was made to give a speech. They made stand on a table and asked to give a speech. It was just an introduction and nothing else. I stood on the table and did that.”
Rishabh was one of those lucky players to have got a coach like Rahul Dravid in the U19 days. He told us about that one secret mantra that Dravid had given to everyone in the U19 team. Pant tells about the same here, “He is such a big legend that it was a unique experience to be with him. He always said one thing that just try to remain same. If you are doing well or not, just try to be same.”
Well, looking at Rishabh Pant and his answers, one had to admit that Indian cricket is in the safe hands. Fittingly, Pant is a wicketkeeper.