It was a rough phase for Rishabh Pant since the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year. The 24-year-old was constantly botching to deliver what he was expected to. But, Pant seems to be surpassing all the hurdles on his way to evolve as India’s star batter in Test cricket, considering his Edgbaston innings.
India was 64/3 when Pant came out to bat. He shared crease with Virat Kohli, for some time and after Kohli’s fall, Shreyas Iyer’s quick start lit hopes of setting a respectable total, in the Indian minds. But Iyer too, couldn’t sustain for long and fell off Jimmy Anderson’s decent delivery and Sam Billings’ catch of the match.
Pant then played cautiously with Ravindra Jadeja. Pant went on to hit Anderson by stepping out of the crease in his style. He didn’t spare Jack Leach, the English left-arm spinner who was the player of the match in England’s last encounter against New Zealand, for his excellent spells of 5/100 and 5/66 respectively.
Simply awesome @RishabhPant17!
Crucial innings by @imjadeja. Rotated the strike well and played some amazing shots.#ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/9ACuhVlGTT
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 1, 2022
Pant smashed his ton in merely 89 deliveries. He went on to score 146 runs in 111 deliveries, with 19 fours and four sixes. Pant scored at a strike rate of 131.53. The wicketkeeper-batter was dismissed by the former England skipper and a part-time bowler Joe Root.
Root bowled a slower and wider delivery and Pant edged the ball into the slips. He looked disappointed after the dismissal but went to the pavilion by raising his bat high in the air. Following his heroic innings, Pant in the press conference after the stumps on Day 1, stated:
“I like the opposition (England) but I do not think about it much. I just look to give my 100 percent in every match. My focus is on the cricket I play. From childhood, my coach Tarak sir told me that you can hit the ball, but work on your defense as well. I keep working on my defense, in Test cricket, defense is important.
Every ball you cannot hit, so I keep focusing, and if I think I need to defend, I defend and if I think I can hit the ball, I hit the ball. Putting the bad ball away is also important, if the bowler is bowling well, then giving him respect is also a good sign. I try to play to the merit of the ball.”
Besides, Rishabh Pant has notched five Test hundreds so far and four of them have been scored on foreign soil.
We were thinking let’s not lose a wicket till tea – Pant
On being asked about his discussion with Jadeja, Pant said that they tried to focus on the partnership to maintain the pressure. Pant also mentioned that they had decided not to lose a wicket until Tea.
“I don’t focus on the bowler; I focus on what he is bowling. It is not pre-planned that I have to go after this bowler. If I feel I can hit the ball, I do that. I think if you lose too many wickets, you need to give yourself time. I was trying to build a partnership with Jaddu bhai and we were thinking let’s not lose a wicket till the tea break,” he added.
Additionally, Pant, when asked about his conversation with coach Rahul Dravid, asserted that Dravid had told him to play according to the ball and concentrate on one ball at a time. Pant also went on to add that Dravid had asked him to play according to the situation and not to think about the results.
Moreover, the visitors have closed Day 1 at a score of 338 for 7. Jadeja (83* off 163) and Mohammed Shami will come out to bat again on Day 2, at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Written By Prachi Pisal
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