Rishabh Pant worked relentlessly on his fitness and his wicketkeeping skills in the past 4 months to script the kind of comeback that he has scripted ever since he made his comeback to the Indian playing 11 in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground [MCG], head coach Ravi Shastri said in the post-match conference following India’s series win against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Rishabh Pant underwent possibly the worst phase of his career last year where he lost his place as the first-choice wicketkeeper in all formats of the game. Not only that, Pant was criticized left, right and center for his fitness and Shastri revealed in the interview that the 23-year-old was told in no uncertain terms by him and the management that he needs to give more respect to the game.
And, Pant, during the course of the last two-Test series, has clearly shown that he worked relentlessly on his fitness as well as his wicketkeeping, something that was top-notch on raging turners during the Test series against England.
But the most pleasing aspect of Pant’s redemption in the past three months has been the calmness and maturity that he has displayed in crunch situations. He scored a brilliant 97 in the fourth innings of the Sydney Test which paved way for a famous draw while his brilliantly paced 89 not-out at the Gabba in Brisbane helped India won the series 2-1.
Pant was at it again during India’s first innings of the fourth Test where he once again paced his innings to perfection before going hell for leather against the likes of James Anderson and co. Speaking about the knock, Ravi Shastri hailed his 101 as one of the most attacking innings that he has seen in a long long time.
”Pant has been simply magnificent. We were hard on him. Nothing comes easy. He was told in no uncertain terms that he has got to respect the game a little more. He’s got to lose a bit of weight and work hard on his keeping. We know the talent he has and he has responded. He has worked like hell for the last few months and the results are here to see. Yesterday’s innings was the best counterattacking innings I have seen in India. It was a two phase innings. He built a partnership with Rohit playing against his nature – to do that is not easy – and to turn it on after 50,” said Ravi Shastri in post-match interview.