Former India cricketer, Suresh Raina recalls Rishabh Pant telling him that he wants to be the best keeper-batsman in the world last year. Raina reveals his conversation with Pant after the latter’s heroics with the bat in Australia which won Team India a historic comeback Test series.
While Pant is getting praise from all corners after the Australia tour, a month ago he was not even in the playing eleven across formats. Last year, Pant had lost his place in India’s limited-overs team and his wait for the IPL lengthened due to the lockdown caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
He and Suresh Raina both trained together for some time in Ghaziabad and Delhi last year. Speaking to Cricbuzz, the former cricketer reveals Pant’s thoughts and mindset back then.
“Bhaiya, I want to be the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world,” Pant had told Raina then.
“I really didn’t have much to do with it. He is a young cricketer bursting with talent who in my view is set to become a great player for India. Back in June, he’d just come off a not so good time with the bat,” Raina added.
All he wanted me to do was listen: Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina reveals that the 23-year-old was not in the best frame of mind due to his exclusion from the team; KL Rahul had been given the gloves, and Sanju Samson played ahead of Pant in New Zealand in T20Is.
The CSK batsman says that Pant wanted him to just listen and he needed a break from the media who were constantly having a go at the youngster. Suresh Raina, one of the best fielders of India, also worked on Pant’s fitness and helped him get back to a good mindset.
“There was a lot of talk about him. So, he just wanted a break from it all, from the media and from everything. All he wanted me to do was listen. He wasn’t looking for me to give anything, forget a solution,” he said.
“He did a lot of fitness work with me. With his batting, it wasn’t technical at all. It was more about getting into the right mind-set and feeling good about his cricket and his enjoying his game,” Suresh Raina further revealed.
The wicketkeeper was India’s leading run-scorer in the Test series scoring 271 runs in 3 matches. Though Wriddhiman Saha may take the gloves in the upcoming home series against England, Pant has made enough case to be played purely as a batsman, and also make a return to the limited-overs side.