Harbhajan Singh feels Rishabh Pant is learning fast from MS Dhoni
He liked the way Dhoni instructed Pant during the chase in the second T20I against New Zealand.
Updated - Feb 9, 2019 2:11 pm
India, on Friday, squared the three-match T20I series against New Zealand by winning the second game in Auckland by 7 wickets, thanks to overall improved performance. This is the third consecutive T20I series played overseas, after England and Australia last year, that India came back into the series after losing the first match. The Indian bowlers restricted the Kiwis to 158 after the hosts won the toss and chose to bat and then reached the target in the penultimate over losing just three wickets.
Two wicket-keepers-batsmen – Rishabh Pant (40 off 28 balls) and MS Dhoni (20 off 17) put up an unbeaten partnership of 44 runs to guide the team home. Pant, who joined the India squad for the T20I series, is playing the series as a specialist batsman and made a mark in the second game after falling cheaply in the first.
The Indian side has seen some musical chair going on over the keeper’s position with Pant and Dhoni appearing behind the wickets by turn. However, their solid partnership in just 31 balls in Auckland showed that India can make a huge gain if the two players appear in the same XI
Dhoni taught a serious student in Pant
Senior spinner Harbhajan Singh, who played under the captaincy of Dhoni and now represents Chennai Super Kings alongside him in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said the veteran wicket-keeper helped Pant understand the given situation and not play rash shots when it mattered.
Rishabh Pant has been criticised in the past over susceptible shot selection at crunch moments. Harbhajan also praised the 21-year-old saying he took the lesson by heart while playing with the senior mate.
“Rishabh Pant made full use of his opportunity today and batting with MS Dhoni. When he hit a few casual shots, Dhoni walked up to him and explained what he needed to do. After that he played safer shots, down the ground and hit only the balls which were there to be hit,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Sports Tak.
The 38-year-old, who was a member of the India squad that won the 2011 World Cup, said Pant could be the side’s X-factor at the mega event this year and book a berth in the squad for the mega event if he scores runs consistently.