Former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq had high praise for India's gloveman, Rishabh Pant, as he termed him the difference between India and England after the hosts won the series 2-1. He also lauded the Indian skipper Virat Kohli for promoting him up the order when India were losing wickets.
If not for the injury to Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant might not have even featured in the recently-concluded ODI series between India and England. But, he had a great impact in the last two games as he made scores of 77 and 78 respectively. His aggressive fifty in the series-decider came at a crucial time with his partnership alongside Hardik Pandya, changing the momentum of the game after India were on the back-foot following a mini-collapse.
In the series, Pant's strike-rate of 151.96 was the best from either side and he has now thrown his hat in the ring for a spot in India's ODI middle-order as well. Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has also been mesmerized by the way the 23-year-old Indian gloveman has done so far this year. He praised him by saying that Pant was the difference between both sides.
"Earlier, players used to struggle while playing Down Under but Pant is not bothered at all. Earlier in the 70’s era, Vivian Richards used to be the difference between West Indies and any other side. Similarly, Pant was the difference between India and England," Inzamam said in a video uploaded on his Youtube channel, reported HT.
The former Pakistan selector also feels that the left-hander doesn't seem to 'play under pressure' and his batting exploits in Australia were 'effortless.'
"What a player he is. After a long time, I’ve seen such a player who plays much better than you think of a player how he should be. I’ve been following him since the India tour of Australia. He doesn’t seem like playing under pressure,"
"Even in Australia, when all the seniors were out with injuries, his effortless batting at the middle-order made it look as if India haven’t lost any wicket or they aren’t playing on Australian soil," he said.
Speaking about the third ODI, which India won narrowly after Sam Curran threatened to take the game away from the hosts, Inzamam reckoned that it was not an easy wicket to bat.
"It wasn’t an easy wicket to score against spinners as we all saw Virat Kohli getting bowled by Moeen Ali. But Pant once again played a fine knock and scored 74 runs (78*) in 62 balls, at a strike rate of more than 100. No other batter has a strike rate of more than 100," Inzamam said.
Unlike the second ODI, India decided to send in Rishabh Pant at 4 and the move paid rich dividends with him making 78 off 62. Inzamam signed off by saying that it was a great move by Virat Kohli as Pant released the pressure which was on India after losing three quick wickets post a great start.
"It was a smart move by Virat that he promoted Pant up the order. India lost three senior players – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, and the pressure was mounted on India. But Pant played an important role in releasing the pressure," he signed off.