Sam Billings recalls calling Rishabh Pant 'the best young player I have ever seen'

Sam Billings recalls calling Rishabh Pant ‘the best young player I have ever seen’

Both Rishabh Pant and Sam Billings were members of the 2016 Delhi IPL team.

Sam Billings and Rishabh Pant
Sam Billings and Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: Twitter)

England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings has said that Rishabh Pant is the best young player he has ever seen. The right-handed batsman will be playing under the captaincy of Pant at the Delhi Capitals in the upcoming season of the IPL. Billings has previously been part of the franchise in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

As a matter of fact, Pant also made his first appearance in the cash-rich league in the same tournament. During a recent interaction, Billings shared a story from the 2016 season, when he saw the young Indian wicketkeeper bat for the first time in Delhi Daredevils’ (now Delhi Capitals’) nets. 

Billings recalled how Pant was smashing some of the top bowlers at the time. He also recalled asking Rahul Dravid, who was the mentor of the Delhi franchise back then, about Pant. The Delhi southpaw was just 19-year-old then and was fresh from the U-19 cricket world cup success with the bat. 

Pant was hitting great bowlers all around: Sam Billings

“I remember the first time I saw Rishabh play. We had a middle practice, and he was hitting bowlers like Chris Morris, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and a lot of other bowlers everywhere and then I asked Rahul Dravid, ‘Who is this guy?’ And now we all know who Rishabh Pant is and I actually said back then that he’s probably the best young player I have ever seen,” Billings said in a Delhi Capitals press release. 

Billings further went on to say that he is happy for Pant’s recent success. The left-handed batsman has been in top form with the bat. He has also been named the captain of Delhi in absence of Shreyas Iyer. “We have seen what he does on a regular basis in the India shirt and also in the Delhi shirt. I am really happy for him and he will go from strength to strength,” said Billings.

Billings was with the England ODI and T20I squad, which played a series against India recently. He joined the Capitals’ preparatory camp before the 2021 IPL. This will be a comeback season for Billings, having not featured in the 2020 season. “It’s great to be back at the IPL. There are a great group of players and the DC camp has been very welcoming,” Billings said.