Fast rising Pant gets his big reward

New kid on the block

Fast rising Pant gets his big reward

Rishabh Pant is a talent in hurry. The young wicketkeeper-batsman has been taking rampant strides since representing India in the under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh early last year.

After scorching the domestic circuit in his first full season for Delhi, Pant on Friday was rewarded with a call-up to India’s T20 squad for the three matches against England.

The 19-year—old from Roorkee grabbed the attention at the under-19 World Cup where he made an 18-ball half-century against Nepal, and a brisk century in the quarterfinal against Namibia to take India to the semifinals.

Aggression comes naturally to Pant and it dripped in the eight matches for Delhi this season, where he accumulated 972 runs at an average of 81 and a strike rate of 107.28! He outshone the others with his record- breaking triple-hundred against Maharashtra and a blistering 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand.

His coach at Sonnet Club, Tarak Sinha, believes Pant’s ability to quickly pick the line and length of a bowler sets his apart. “He always has a lot of time to play the ball. His timing is superb,” Sinha told DH.

 The experienced coach, however, is aware that road ahead would be more challenging for his gifted ward.  “The number of bad balls you get reduces as you progress up the rank,” said Sinha.

 Pant, who had landed a Rs 1.90 crore deal with Delhi Daredevils, learned a lot in the Indian Premier League.

“Facing the international bowlers around the world in IPL, added to his confidence,” Sinha said.

 It is the confidence of Pant which struck Delhi coach KP Bhaskar.  “He has a lot of self-belief, particularly the aerial shots he hits. He is a strong lad who has good body balance, like (Virender) Sehwag; not much of feet movement but the bat speed is so good that he can dispatch even good balls. There is a clarity in his shot selection.”

 Bhaskar raves about the 308 he hit against Maharashtra. “It was an amazing knock that came after he kept the wickets for nearly two and half days. He was the only player on the field for all four days. It speaks volumes about his fitness and concentration.

Bhaskar feels Pant’s focus should now be to cement his place in the side. “Also, he must focus on finishing the game, I often give him the example of MS Dhoni. It is a great chance for him to see the stalwart from close quarters,” Bhaskar said.

It indeed is a wonderful opportunity for Pant, who is fast looked upon as an understudy to Dhoni.

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