Young Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, who is often touted as former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s successor behind the stumps, credited 37-year-old cricketer for all his success.
Speaking to bcci.tv during an interview, the Delhi batsman said whenever he needed any guidance he would go to MS Dhoni.
“Whenever I needed any support from Mahi bhai, I used to ask him. From my IPL contract to my wicket-keeping, he’s advised me on everything,” Pant said.
“He’s always told me that when it comes to wicket-keeping, your hands and head coordination is important, the body balance can come into play later. That (his advice) has helped me a lot,” added the 20-year-old cricketer.
Rishabh Pant, who earned his maiden Test call through his gritty performances with the A team, also said the positivity in the Indian team’s dressing room was quite infectious.
“Every time I come to the Indian dressing room, there is one thing that has always stood out for me. It is the positivity in the dressing room. Everyone is supporting and backing each other, which is the most important factor about this Indian dressing room,” Rishabh Pant said.
Asked about the challenge of switching formats from Indian Premier League to the ODI and four-day games in England, the southpaw said he did not stress over that.
“I reckon there isn’t too much difference, but it has got more to do with shot selection. In red ball cricket, with the field placements, you can look around; take your time, because you have five days to play. Whereas in limited overs cricket you have limited number of balls to play and score,” Pant said, adding, “I have so far enjoyed my preparation with red ball cricket. The duke ball swings a lot when you’re here in England and initially when I started playing here with India A, I realised that the swing will come a lot into play in these conditions.”
Earlier, India ‘A’ coach Rahul Dravid had also heaped praises for Rishabh Pant for his performance in England.
“The only thing he tells me is that you need to be patient about everything, be it on the field or off it. Also, how I need to work harder on my game when it comes to red ball cricket since I’m a positive batsman, but at times you need to play to the situation. See the pace of the game and change your game accordingly,” Pant said.
Though Rishabh Pant has been called in India’s Test squad, it is very unlikely that he will get chance to play as Dinesh Karthik is the first-choice keeper in the absence of Wriddhiman Saha. “I always see everything as an opportunity coming my way. Especially as a wicket-keeper batsman in India, wherein, there aren’t too many options for the spot. Therefore, whatever opportunity I get, I try and optimise it,” Pant said.
Recently, former Indian cricketer Kiran More had said Pant could be the next Adam Gilchrist.
“Adam Gilchrist has been my idol when it comes to keeping wickets and I used to watch him all the time as a youngster. But, at this moment, I’m learning a lot from people around me like Rahul Dravid Sir, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and I try and improve my game every day,” Rishabh said.
When Rishabh Pant was asked how did you respond after hearing about your Test selection, especially after the disappointment of not making the one-day team? he said: “I always wanted to be a part of the Indian Test squad and it was more like a dream come true for me. It was an amazing feeling, not only for me but also for my family and my coach Tarek Sinha sir, who helped me understand the game very early in my life.”
“He has always wanted me to play Test cricket for India and when I got the call, he was very happy and proud and I enjoyed that moment,” Pant concluded.