Sam Billings was a part of the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2017, the very same season where Rishabh Pant displayed his prodigious talent on the world stage. The highlight of Pant’s 2017 IPL campaign was his maniac 43-ball 97 against Gujarat Lions that helped Delhi chase down 209 in a canter.
Billing was, however, not surprised at Rishabh Pant’s belligerence as he had already seen the southpaw take the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and other fast bowlers to the cleaners in the nets. In fact, Billings was so impressed that he had also gone on record and hailed Pant as MS Dhoni’s successor.
— Sam Billings (@sambillings) January 19, 2021
“Pant, I played with for two years when I was with Delhi [Capitals] and the first time I saw him, I turned to Rahul Dravid and asked ‘Who is this kid?” He was hitting Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris everyone in the open net and I was just thinking- “this is unbelievable”,” Sam Billings told ESPNCricinfo.
Following a brilliant Ranji Trophy season and an equally good IPL, Rishabh Pant earned a call-up to the T20I team but it is in Test cricket that he has found real success.
Pant made his debut in Test cricket during the tour of England in 2018 and he made his intentions pretty clear when he smashed Adil Rashid for a six on the very ball that he faced.
He went on to score a hundred at the Oval and followed it up with another whirlwind ton in Sydney a few months later.
Pant endured an extended lean patch post the 2019 Australian series, eventually losing.his place to KL Rahul in white-ball cricket and to Saha in Test matches.
However, the charismatic 23-year-old has staged a redemption in the past few months by racking up game-changing and series-defining knocks in Australia and at home against England. His wicketkeeping has also improved by leaps and bounds.
And for Sam Billings, who will once again be joining Rishabh Pant at the Delhi Capitals, it has been satisfying to see him evolve as a cricketer in the past 2-3 years.
“That year he lit up the IPL and it’s been great to see him evolve as a cricketer and it will be great to once again be on the same side as him this year” Billings added.