Rishabh Pant reveals that he had only the victory in his head when he came out to bat on Day 5 in Brisbane in a mammoth run-chase of 328 runs against Australia. Had India shut shop and batted out a draw, like in Sydney in the third Test, it would have sufficed for the visitors to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy; however, Rishabh Pant had other ideas.
Pant, who was promoted to number 5 in India’s second innings, bided some time and then smashed 89 runs from 138 balls to complete the chase with 3 overs left in the match as India breached the ‘Fortress Gabba’ and clinched the series.
The left-hander was named Man of the Match for his scintillating and mature innings under huge pressure. He unfolds the plan between him and Cheteshwar Pujara of setting up small targets in a big run-chase. The 23-year-old says that he was given the license to attack further in the last stage of the chase.
“From when I walked out to bat in Brisbane, it was already in my head that we had to win the match. I never gave a second thought for a draw. I was trying to keep us, as a team, in the game for as long as possible.
“Puji bhai and I had short targets in mind – 15-20 runs here and there and play till the end of the session and things like that. Right at the end, when only 30-40 runs were left, they gave me permission to go for the target. But before that, I was doing whatever I could to keep us in the chase,” Rishabh Pant told Hindustan Times.
Cheteshwar Pujara inspired all of us: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant, who returned as India’s leading run-scorer of the series, says that the entire Indian team was inspired by Cheteshwar Pujara who kept on taking body blows one after another but didn’t give away his wicket. Pujara was struck about a dozen times by the Aussie pacers but batted with resilience, grit, and unreal tenacity which inspired other batters to go for the victory as India’s number three held the fort at one end.
“Puji bhai was standing there after getting hit some 10 times and still giving his 200 percent. That inspired me. That inspired all of us. He was so determined to make his team win, that’s the team culture we want to build. Only then special things happen when you keep the team first,” Pant added.
Rishabh Pant will be seen in action in the home series against England. While Wriddhiman Saha may take the gloves back, the left-hander has made a more than enough case to play as a batsman.