Former Indian opener-turned commentator Aakash Chopra has heaped high praise on wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant following his whirlwind hundred against Australia A in the pink-ball warm-up game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pant shrugged off his ordinary return in the first game by unleashing his T20 moniker as he smashed the helpless Australia A bowling to all corners of the SCG. The southpaw smashed a maniac 73-ball 103- an innings which was glittered with slog-sweeps, hook shots, cover-drives, square-cuts, and lofted on-drives.
Pant smashed 22 runs in the last over of the day in which he smashed Jack Wildermuth for 4 fours and a huge six to bring up his hundred. Needless to say, Rishabh Pant’s innings completely overshadowed Hanuma Vihari, who also scored a brilliant hundred, and Aakash Chopra went on to pick the former as the ‘Player of the day’
“The player of the day, although I wanted to keep Hanuma Vihari, but I have changed it to Rishabh Pant. Because if you destroy the opposition like this at the end. This is the quality that this guy has.” Aakash Chopra said on his official Youtube channel.
The former KKR opener went as far as saying that Rishabh Pant reminds him of the legendary Adam Gilchrist as he boasts of the ability to come in the lower-order and take the game away from the opposition in a mere session.
“He is like Adam Gilchrist. Obviously Adam Gilchrist has achieved a lot but Rishabh Pant’s story has just started. But when he plays, he reminds you of him, it feels like he can reach close to him. Because if he comes in the lower order and changes the game in a single session, that ability is there in Rishabh Pant.” Chopra added.
A cracking first-class century from @RishabhPant17 in just 73 balls at the SCG. He smashes 22 off the final over to bring up his 100.
9×4 6×6. BOOM. pic.twitter.com/Mg3M1WBYlg
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 12, 2020
‘The destructive Rishabh Pant is back’- Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra also talked about the immense pressure that Rishabh Pant would have been under when he came out to bat. Pant had not played the first warm-up game, in which his fellow wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha scored a match-saving half-century for the team.
Pant was dismissed for 5 in the first innings and the second innings was his last opportunity to showcase his talent and further his case as India’s first-choice stumper for the Test series.
And, according to Aakash Chopra, the enigmatic southpaw showed that to the hilt by completely dominating the passage of play in the last 30-45 minutes of play where he reminded everyone that how destructive he can be.
“He was under a lot of pressure, he had not scored in the last innings and this was his last chance. He had not even played the first warm-up match. The last 30 to 45 minutes of the final session was completely dominated by Rishabh Pant. He made everyone aware of his amazing capabilities. The question was whether he will even attempt to score a hundred but he did that as well.” Aakash Chopra added.
“He converts the seats in the stadium into fielders and made the fielders as spectators. The destructive Rishabh Pant is back.” he said.
Chopra signed off by saying that Rishabh Pant’s hundred has given the Indian team-management a good headache as to who to pick between the southpaw and the experienced Saha. He, however, added that even if the team goes with Saha, Rishabh Pant’s innings has ensured that he will always be in contention and that the management cannot really discard him now.
“The big question will be if India will stick with him or go to Wriddhiman Saha. But one thing is for sure, with this hundred, whether you play him or not, he will be an overhauling thought and you can’t really discard him. He has been that good.” he signed off.