Rishabh Pant, who struck his first century on home soil on Day 2 of the 4th Test on Friday, asserted that he is someone who just likes to ‘react’ to the ball and described the same as the USP of his game. Pant revealed that as soon as he walked in to bat, he knew he needed to build a partnership.
It was a day to remember in Ahmedabad for young Rishabh Pant as, remarkably, for the fourth time across the last six Tests, the southpaw played a potential match-defining knock. Team India were in dire straits at 146/6, threatening to fall well short of England’s first innings total of 205, but an astonishing counter-punching ton from Pant deflated England, who surrendered to India in the final session. In a knock that comprised 13 fours and 2 sixes, Pant took the English bowlers on and sent the SG ball to all parts of the ground to put India in the driver’s seat.
Despite his SR reading 85, the 101 on Day 2 was a well-assessed, matured knock from the 23-year-old, and reflecting on his startling showing post the close of play, he was just initially keen to build partnerships and keep the scoreboard ticking. The southpaw further insisted that he is someone who loves to just ‘react’ to the ball, and described his ability to play the situation instinctively as his USP (Unique selling point).
“The plan was just to build a partnership when I joined Rohit, that was the only thing on my mind. I was thinking I would assess the pitch and then play my shots,” Pant said post stumps on Day 2.
“If the bowlers are bowling well respect it and take the singles, and that was on my mind. I like to play the situation and I just see the ball and react - that's the USP (unique selling point) of my game.”
Despite restricting England to 205, the Indian top-order, not for the first time this series, crumbled, and at one stage it did look like the hosts would concede a first-innings lead. Pant, who walked in to bat with the score 80/4, revealed that the team’s primary goal was to first nullify the deficit and get to England’s total of 205.
“The team plan was to get to 206, past the England total, and then get as many runs as possible after that.”
Pant’s 101 was a bundle of joy and entertainment, but there was one jaw-dropping hit which even made the great James Anderson tip his hat off to the youngster. Batting on 89*, Pant reverse-lapped an Anderson good-length-ball over the slip cordon to get closer to the three-digit-mark. In Pant’s young career, these fancy flicks and tricks have already become a trademark of his, and the youngster asserted that a batsman is always entitled to take the odd risk if and when things are indeed going their way.
“You have to premeditate reverse-flicks, but if luck is going your way you can take the odd chance. I get the license most of the time, but I have to assess the situation and take the game head on. I like to make the team win and if the crowd is entertained by that, I'm happy.”