Team India wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been one of the highlights of the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy where the visitors trumped Australia 2-1. His match-winning knock at the Gabba earned him applause from all quarters.
The visitors had their back against the wall coming into this game but they defied all the odds to beat Australia for the consecutive time. The hosts needed only nine wickets to pick on the final day as India looked to chase down a monumental target.
Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara led the heist before Rishabh Pant launched a carnage playing alongside the tailenders. One week has passed by but the victory is yet to sink in. Reflecting on the same, Rishabh Pant revealed the inspiration behind his ODI-like innings was Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara.
Cheteshwar Pujara inspired me in Brisbane – Rishabh Pant
During a conversation with Hindustan Times, Pant highlighted how big of an impact Pujara had on him and other teammates with the way he put himself in the line of fire. Pujara was hit on the body 11 times in the decisive Test, especially by Pat Cummins – who bowled bodyline bouncers to the Indian batsman, hitting his head, shoulders, and even chest.
“Puji bhai was standing there after getting hit some 10 times and still giving his 200 percent. That inspired me. That inspired all of us,” said Pant. “He was so determined to make his team win, that’s the team culture we want to build. Only then special things happen when you keep the team first.”
“From when I walked out to bat in Brisbane, it was already in my head that we had to win the match. I never gave a second thought for a draw,” says Pant. “I was trying to keep us, as a team, in the game for as long as possible. Puji bhai and I had short targets in mind – 15-20 runs here and there and play till the end of the session and things like that.
So, when was he allowed to truly cut loose? “Right at the end, when only 30-40 runs were left, they gave me permission to go for the target. But before that, I was doing whatever I could to keep us in the chase,” the youngster added.
However, Rishabh Pant has shifted his focus to the upcoming tour of England starting from February 5 in Chennai. With the matches being played in home conditions, he will face stiff competition from Wriddhiman Saha for the wicket-keeper’s slot in the playing XI.