Get the app

Nobody Gifted Me a Place in the Indian Team, I Earned It: Rishabh Pant

Everytime Rishabh Pant takes field for the Indian cricket team, comparisons with the legendary MS Dhoni are bound to be made. But for Pant it is about learning from Dhoni, rather than competing with him.

Cricketnext Staff |September 7, 2019, 12:13 PM IST
Nobody Gifted Me a Place in the Indian Team, I Earned It: Rishabh Pant

Everytime Rishabh Pant takes field for the Indian cricket team, comparisons with the legendary MS Dhoni are bound to be made. But for Pant it is about learning from Dhoni, rather than competing with him.

In an interview with Bombay Times, Pant reveals his relationship with Dhoni, his career so far, and of course the famous banter with Tim Paine.

“I do think about the comparison with Dhoni sometimes, but it’s too difficult. If I am learning from him, I can’t possibly think that I can be in his league overnight.

"I am just trying to learn from him. I consider him my mentor. He has taught me so many things — be it how to work on my batting or mind-set before I go to bat, and most importantly, keeping calm in pressure situations.

“At 21, if I start thinking that I have to fill Dhoni’s shoes, it will get very difficult for me. I just try to keep it simple. I want to play the game to the best of my ability and learn from everyone around me, especially my seniors."

Ever since his international debut in 2017, Pant has become a regular in the Test side, and has time and again shone with bat. He scored tons in England and Australia in testing conditions and showed he belonged at the top level.

Despite this many believe that he got an entry into the Indian team a bit too early. But Pant thinks otherwise.

“It’s good for a player to get an early break. Besides, I am not getting anything for free. I have worked hard and earned my place in the Indian cricket team. Nobody has gifted that to me.

"Koi nahi bolta ke, ‘Bhai team mein aaja’. Aisa nahi hota hai. If you don’t perform well, you won’t be selected. It’s as simple as that. Everyone has to justify their spot in the team.”

Talking about the World Cup, where the 21-year-old had initially missed the bus but was called as a replacement for injured Dhawan, Pant said, “I didn’t expect to make it to the WC as a wild-card entry.

“I had hoped that I would make it to the final 15. I had worked for it. It was a dream come true to play the WC, but no, I never thought the opportunity would come like this. I was happy.

I remember I was in my hometown Roorkee, when I got a call from the BCCI saying, ‘Just be ready. You may have to come to the UK, so be in Delhi’. I told them that I am in Delhi already (smiles!). I had an intuition that I will get that call.”

In a small career Pant has already had a few memorable moments, but the one that stands out is his ‘babysitter’ banter with Paine.

“I was laughing at it. I have no clue how he thought of calling me that. It was fun. When I met his family, his mother wanted a photo with me. His wife was standing around with their two kids. She asked me if she could also take a picture with me.

"I actually held one of the kids for the photograph, saying I can be their babysitter. She posted it on Instagram and it went viral. It was a friendly banter. Also, whatever happens on the field stays on the field. I don’t take it home or hold grudges.

“I love the banter actually. I won’t ever start anything (sledging) first, but if someone pushes my limit, I have to give it back. I can’t just listen to anyone and keep quiet.”

Related stories

Also Watch

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 India 8411 263
4 Australia 5471 261
5 South Africa 4407 259
see more