Ajit Agarkar has stated Rishabh Pant’s aggressive brand of cricket, which was on display at Edgbaston on Friday, has come to be expected given the wicketkeeper’s previous exploits. The pacer went on to praise Pant’s ability to perform against the red ball despite poor form in limited-overs cricket.
The clear highlight of the first day of play in Edgbaston was Rishabh Pant’s relentless onslaught against England’s bowling attack. The youngster rushed his way to a century off just 89 balls, bettering MS Dhoni’s record of the quickest hundred by an Indian wicketkeeper.
This was Pant’s second century of the series, making him the only visiting wicketkeeper batsman ever to score multiple centuries in Tests in England. Coming in amidst a batting collapse for India, the 23-year-old managed to swing the tide with his innings and establish India as the frontrunners for the contest. His 146 came off just 111 balls, achieving the feat in his trademark aggressive fashion. Pant has previously reached the three-figure mark in Tests in India, Australia and South Africa as well, with all his big knocks coming at crucial junctures in the games. Reflecting on Pant’s innings, Ajit Agarkar stated that his aggressive approach in the Tests is not a surprise anymore.
"It's not the first time that he has done it. It shouldn't come as a surprise. It's just good for India that he has kept repeating it, especially in Test cricket. It not only put the opposition under pressure, but put India so far ahead in the game," Ajit Agarkar was quoted as saying by India Today.
The innings was particularly impressive considering the recent string of low scores for Pant in white-ball cricket. Serving as the stand-in captain for a five-match T20I series against South Africa last month, the 23-year-old had only managed 58 runs at a paltry average of 14.50. Agarkar praised the youngsters for not letting his limited-overs form affect his batting in red-ball cricket.
"He came into the Test match being a little bit under pressure because of his form in white-ball cricket, which has been a tad indifferent. But it hasn't affected his form in Test cricket," he explained.
"He was batting well, particularly for India. In the five-match series where he was the captain, he was under a bit of pressure," Agarkar added, referencing the India- South Africa series.
India will now look forward to capitalise on the solid start they had got on the first day and to secure a historic series win.