22 years old, this lad Rishabh Pant. Must be good 12-13 years he’s been playing season cricket. If we analyse the past decade and half of Indian cricket more than few left handers ruled world cricket under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. These were Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina.
Yuvraj Singh was more flamboyant, easy to see and catch the swag off the player of his caliber, his celebration style. The elegant left hander India blessed with. His shots through both On and Off sides had punch in it. So does Suresh Raina, another classy left handed batsman, impeccable through cover reason to down the ground and the arc continues till mid-wicket and brilliant fielder.
Now Rishabh pant has quite few similarities between the combination of both Yuvraj and Raina. Rishabh backs punch with his shots and I can guarantee it, taken a leaf out of Yuvi’s book considering him being a role model. If anyone can observe Rishabh’s play against spinners you can see a glimpse of Raina’s batsmanship. Reach to the pitch of the deliveries, lofting the ball to extra cover and mid off region or be it slogging over mid wicket.
Taking leaf out of your idols books and putting them into practice is much more than a mere talent. It has involved sheer hard work perspiration and determination. Has given him success at this very early age. Drafted into the test squad with Wriddhiman Shah being injured, scoring a couple of brilliant tons one in England and another one on Australian soil.. Getting the place in the world cup squad in 2019 after Dhawan’s injury.
The Indian Premier League has been a forte for him more than T20 Internationals. Test format and IPL suits rishabh’s style of play with the kind of talent and practice he has put in so far. With the position or situation he bats most of the time demands him to deal with a similar style of play he has been playing for the teams he has played so far. With the limited clear thought process, to attack. Which T20 allows you to play and test match permits you the license as the fields are more wide open with his strong arc from mid-off to square leg region.
If anybody remembers the 2019 world cup semi final game against New Zealand, India lost it unfortunately or maybe it was Guptill’s day.
Rishabh was promoted up the order, it was a high pressure game. Everything was at stake, and lost the top order which seldom failed in the entire tournament. Rishabh had to deal with the new thought process and new responsibilities which his style of game does not permit him to perform that day. That is where MS Dhoni comes in as a master in terms of thought process, to improve himself, to swim for the team, he did in world cup finals 2011. His clear thought process made it possible. He is a good reader of the game. That’s more important.
Now, Dhoni is out of the equation. Rishabh not only has to fix his place but has to perform with no added pressure on himself about how Dhoni served the team while wicket keeping, Dhoni used to turn matches on his own just from behind the stumps. Dhoni is Dhoni!!!
Rishabh and the entire team shall understand this and communicate with Rishabh about his only clear roles. Rishabh is a humble person but he has to work on his mindset, game awareness, skill improvements. You can say to some extent with age on his side he has given a long rope as compared to others.
What exactly Rishabh Pant needs to be doing?
In terms of batting:
Needs to work on his body balance while batting.
He’s back foot is more than vulnerable, he needs improvement on his back-foot game so that he could open up third-man, square on the on and off side.
Work on his back-lift, to play late.
Left shoulder falls too soon only to cover the mid wicket region.
This will allow him to play a bit late, which will eventually help him to find more gaps than often to rotate the strike. Which was adapted by Dhoni after he became the Captain of the side.
Above all, he has to be consistent enough.
In terms of keeping:
Just improve on keeping skills.
Read the game more minutely.
Get close to Rahul Dravid & Sachin Tendulkar.