With support at other end, Pant flies high

With support at other end, Pant flies high

Rishabh Pant celebrates his century on Friday.

Rishabh Pant had grabbed more eyeballs on this tour for his chatter standing behind stumps than his performance either with the bat or with his gloves. If he has disappointed by throwing his wickets away without a care in the world, he has also frustrated by his poor skills behind the wickets.

While his wicketkeeping still needs a lot of improvement, he finally did justice to his much-hyped batting with a sparkling ton that left the Australians completely drained. Having got out to reckless shots in his previous innings, Pant showed admirable restraint in the beginning and in patches during the course of his 159. This is Pant’s second ton and his highest after a knock of 114 against England at The Oval.

Pant blamed his previous short stints at the wicket to the time he was coming to bat in -- with only tail-enders left in the line-up, he said, he had to go for runs.

“I don’t think anything changed from my side,” said the 21-year-old. “The main thing was that I was playing with a batsman this time. Most of the time, when I got a start, I was playing with the tail. If I am batting with the tail, I have to think differently because most of the time, I have to score the runs. But when you are batting with a batsman, that’s a different thing. You have seen it today. The team plan was to bat on for as long as possible. I played according to the team plan, and then the runs take care of themselves.”

After his maiden in England, Pant had missed out on a triple figure on two occasions during the home series against West Indies. The Delhi batsman, who had got out on twice on the same score of 92 in both the Tests, admitted he was a little scared when he got into his 90s on the day.

“To be honest, I was a little nervous, because in India when we were playing West Indies, in the last two innings, I got out on 92 and 92. So I was scared slightly but I got through that phase quickly.

“The best part of my batting is that everyone in the team has given me the freedom to express myself. Every time when I go to bat, I just enjoy myself, that’s the only thing I love to do.”

Pant has been involved in one-to-one banter with rival stumper Tim Paine and a few other players, and the Indian gloveman said this was his way of keeping himself positive.

 “That is also one of the methods to keep yourself positive, to keep yourself busy. When you are fielding for a long time, everyone’s body does get tired, but you need to find a way to keep yourself positive and stay focused. My method is this, and it works for me, that’s why I am doing it.”