Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has recalled the heartbreak 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand where he successfully weathered the storm and scored a mature 38 before undoing all the hard work courtesy of a hoike across the line off Mitchell Santner.
Pant, in an interview with Times of India, has termed it as a disheartening moment for him as he felt that it was a great opportunity for him to do something special for his team.
India, despite the heroics from Ravindra Jadeja eventually lost the game and the Delhi swashbuckler wondered as to when such opportunity will present itself.
A year and a half later, Rishabh Pant successfully exorcised the demons of Old Trafford with an unbeaten 89 in the fourth innings of the series-decider against Australia, one that not only helped India breach the ‘Gabbatoir’ but also script their second successive Test series win Down Under.
“When I got out in the 2019 World Cup semifinal, it was a very disheartening moment for me. It was a big opportunity for me to do something special for India. I didn’t know when such a big moment would come again. I have always dreamt of winning matches from tough situations and doing something which is unbelievable. I never thought of scoring my own runs. A match-winning effort can be a knock of 20 runs or even a special catch,” Rishabh Pant told TOI.
‘Nothing matches the high of winning matches for India’- Rishabh Pant
The 89 that Rishabh Pant scored in Brisbane was his second successive brilliant fourth innings knock in the Test series.
The southpaw, battling immense pain due to elbow injury during the fourth innings of the Sydney Test, launched a stunning counter-attack on Australia courtesy of a whirlwind 118-ball 97. He felt that he could have led India to victory in that game, something he ensured that it was the case in Brisbane.
”Even when I got out for 97 on the last day in Sydney, I thought I could have won the match had I batted longer. It didn’t matter that I had to take two injections and sedatives before batting. I was in a zone and didn’t want to throw away opportunities. So I ensured I was there at the end in Brisbane,” Rishabh Pant said.
When asked if a draw was never an option for him while going into the final session, Rishabh Pant said that nothing matches the high of winning matches for the country.
”Losing is not an option, but winning is always the better option. The mindset was that I had to win the series for my team, then this tour would be truly memorable. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning matches for India. Nothing matches the high it gives you,” he added.