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Delhi coach KP Bhaskar backs Rishabh Pant to excel in Tests with his ‘attacking instinct’

Pant had a field day behind the wickets claiming five catches in his maiden outing.

Rishabh Pant hits his second ball in Test cricket for 6 runs
Rishabh Pant hits his second ball in Test cricket for 6 runs. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

20-year-old Rishabh Pant on his Test debut has already made an impact with the bat as well as behind the stumps. As Hardik Pandya almost ran through the English middle order, Pant was his partner in crime, holding on to every chance that came his way, as he became the first Asian wicketkeeper, and the youngest ever, to take 5 catches in his debut innings.

Earlier, with the bat, Pant had already stamped his authority, advertising his fearless brand of cricket as he came down the track and smashed Adil Rashid for a six on the second ball he faced, to get off the mark in Test cricket with a maximum. Pant has always been considered one for the future, and his performances have been reminiscent of the immense talent he possesses with the bat as well as with the gloves.

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After being retained by the Delhi Daredevils ahead of the 2018 IPL, he was the highest run-getter for them, comfortably surpassing his fellow teammates, and the second highest run scorer of the tournament, falling 49 runs short of Kane Williamson having played 3 games lesser. Known as much for his belligerence as his power, temperament and flair, Pant’s strike rate was a big talking point in T20s.

Coming off a successful stint with India A in England where he scored 3 fifties in 4 innings, Pant showed he belonged to the Test arena with a statement of intent from the second ball he faced. Although he eventually fell for 24, he had given the Indian fans enough to be excited about. Pant plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit and KP Bhaskar, who has coached the team for the past two seasons, was full of praise for the young batsman.

Pant has complete belief in what he is doing

While acknowledging that there is still a lot he can add to his repertoire for the red ball format, he backed his attacking instinct, believing there is no need for him to “curb” it.

“He is the kind of character who has complete belief in what he is doing. If the first ball is there to be hit, he will hit it. Pant will have to adapt to Tests. However, he has never curbed his natural instincts in Delhi. He has got to be natural. That’s they only way he knows. I’m sure he will succeed,” Bhaskar said while talking to Times of India.

The coach himself never tried altering Pant’s game saying he will learn with experience. “There’s not lot of coaching to be done with him. He has all the shots in his repertoire. I have just advised that he needs to be more consistent with his shot selection.”

“Even when he goes in at 60/5, I have never told him to take his time and see out a particular spell or session. There is no point in telling that to a stroke player. It doesn’t work out. With more experience and exposure at the highest level, he will learn all that,” he said.

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