Former Australia wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin lauds the Indian team management’s decision to promote Rishabh Pant over Hanuma Vihari in the second innings of the recently concluded drawn Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
On Day 5, in India’s second innings, Pant came to bat at number 5 – he batted at 6 in the first innings in Sydney and Melbourne – while chasing an impossible-looking target of 407. But that is the way Pant has carved a niche for himself – making the improbable seem ordinary.
After biding time for about an hour – 7 runs from 36 balls – the left-hander broke his shackles and took on Australia’s best bet on the fifth-day pitch: Nathan Lyon. The southpaw was at his audacious best – not to forget he was battling with an elbow pain as well – as he launched a counter-attack.
In his 118-ball stay for 97 runs, the 23-year-old harrumphed the off-spinner for 3 maximums, along with smashing a dozen boundaries to all the Aussie bowlers.
Rishabh Pant played bravely: Brad Haddin
Brad Haddin is in awe of the fact that Pant, who was already under the burden of dropping two catches in the match, made look the target of 407, which once seemed too big to conquer, as chasable and lit the glimmer of hope for the Indian fans.
The 43-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator says that it was tactical brilliance of Ajinkya Rahane to put Pant in between Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, both of whom are similar kind of players, as Pant’s arrival expedited the run-scoring.
Speaking on 1170 SEN Breakfast, Brad Haddin said, “If I am, to be honest, I didn’t see this coming at all. The way India performed yesterday when they could have just shut up shop and played for a draw, but the Pant tactical move by Ajinkya Rahane I thought was outstanding,”
“If you have a closer look at it, he sent Pant out to try and move the game forward and Pant did exactly that. He played bravely and he made Tim Paine make some decisions as captain on the last day which I thought tactically was really good. Then Vihari came in, and he’s a very similar player to Pujara, they can just shut the game down and that’s exactly what he did,” added Brad Haddin.