There is no doubt that Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant is a phenomenal talent. The expectations and hype around him, hence, are higher than what most cricketers with fledgling careers are exposed to.
Pant is days away from beginning his IPL campaign with Delhi Capitals, after which the World Cup beckons. How much is he thinking about that precious spot in the squad?
“It will always be at the back of my mind,” Pant told Cricketnext on the sidelines of an event in Delhi. “But right now, I am not focusing on that. I am too focused on the IPL and wanting to make my team win.”
Pant came under some scrutiny for mixed performances with the gloves in the last two ODIs against Australia, where he was drafted in to give MS Dhoni some rest. Asked whether he is working on specific areas of his game, Pant said:
“See, as a player I want to keep improving every day. I’ve seen a few areas in my game where I need to work on and I’ve talked about my game to Mahi bhai about that. But as a player, you need to keep improving, every match, every day.
“His (Dhoni’s) aura is totally different when he comes to the dressing room. The calmness is there, and you can talk to him about anything, any problem. That’s the kind of aura he shares with everyone, he makes you comfortable. He gives you advice, but whether you want to take it or not is your wish.”
Pant rose to recognition in the last edition of the IPL, where he scored 684 runs at an average of 52.61. And he’s looking forward to the upcoming edition with enthusiasm, insisting that his sole aim is to make his team win.
“At this level, the pressure will always be there. Pressure in international cricket is different (to the IPL), I know that but yes pressure will be there and I want to perform and make my team win.”
Pant also spoke about the famous “babysitting” picture posted by Tim Paine’s wife. Pant and Paine kept going at each other on the field in what was a famous Indian Test tour of Australia recently.
“It was a good, normal interaction. There was a dinner at the (Australian) Prime Minister’s House. She posted the picture over there and it went viral because me and Tim Paine were having some banter during the match, but we were just playing cricket, hard Test cricket. That’s all,” he said.