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Being Delhi captain brings a lot of pressure, don’t want to do it for next five years, says Rishabh Pant

Hailed as MS Dhoni's successor, Rishabh Pant tells The Indian Express that he is keen to use the Lankan sojourn to show how far he has come of age

Written by Devendra Pandey | Colombo |
Updated: March 5, 2018 8:02:21 am
Rishabh Pant, Rishabh Pant India, India Rishabh Pant, Rishabh Pant Delhi captain, Rishabh Pant batting, MS Dhoni, sports news, cricket, Indian Express Rishabh Pant says the biggest thing he learnt from his previous experiences in the Indian dressing is professionalism. (Source: Express Archive)

Hailed as MS Dhoni’s successor, Rishabh Pant tells The Indian Express that he is keen to use the Lankan sojourn to show how far he has come of age. Excerpts.

Can you describe the time you have been away from team?

It was a little difficult. The only thing running in my mind was how to make a comeback. Whatever I had been lacking, I didn’t want to give any chance. Whatever chance I will get, just want to grab it. The only thing running in my mind is not to commit same old mistakes. Whatever weak points I had, I just tried to work on them, be it keeping, batting or fitness. I want to return much improved than the last time.

When did you realise you need to do more? Did you speak to anyone?
My coach Tarak Sinha sir, I discuss everything with him only. I improved on my skill and fitness in these years.

Did anybody tell you then that you had gained weight?
Nobody told me, then I was fit. There was no fitness issue, my yo-yo test (result) was also 17.2 But yes, when you don’t score runs and get less games, you think to do well next time, better than before.

There was hype that you could fill Dhoni’s shoes. Another small town boy writing a big story?
I never thought, first of all. I played cricket with the sole aim of playing for India one day, for as long as possible. I never thought about the hype. My job has always been to perform.

Is there anyone who kept you grounded?
I keep myself grounded. The mantra of achieving anything in life is simple… Mehnat. You be grounded or not, if you are working hard, you will do well. I don’t think about anything else.

Did Delhi captaincy change you?
Captaining a team like Delhi is full of pressure. Now I won’t do it, at least for the next five years. For me, it’s important now to keep my focus. I will give more than 100 per cent. I want to concentrate more on my performance.

Why is it so tough to captain Delhi?
Pressure hota hai, expectation jyada hai. I don’t want to take too much pressure on myself at this juncture . I want to focus more on my game. I want to contribute more to my team, I can do all these things without being captain. In my state, we have senior players like Ishant (Sharma) bhaiyya and Gauti bhaiyya (Gautam Gambhir). They are there to do captaincy, I don’t think I’m needed for this task at this moment.

You said you worked on your wicketkeeping. Can you be specific?
There is no specific. Once you progress, you just do minute changes. You can’t say that I have played for India, so I don’t need to learn. Till the time you feel and intend to keep the hard work, you will do well.

Was your batting temperament an issue?
These are made up by media. What is wrong in playing an attacking shot to a bad ball? Media said I don’t keep wickets well, selectors say I am ok . What I have learned from all the bhaiyyas is to keep your focus, give your best on the field and not to think about the world outside.

Did the selectors ever speak to you? Or tell you what more you needed to do?
They are in touch with me. They have given me the idea how much more I have to improve. They keep telling me that I will get a chance. I feel this is a fantastic process. Probably, this is the first time selectors are in regular touch with players. When they speak to us, the motivation increases.

What did you take from the dressing room during the West Indies tour last year?
One thing I learnt, which is the most important thing, is everyone is professional. They know their schedule and they know how to contribute to the team’s success. What is their role in the team. How can I help others. The Indian team is like one family. I went there twice but never felt that I am going to the Indian team for first time. The players are so nice, you get lot of support. They will tell what wrong you are doing, they will teach the right things. Any player will grow in that environment. I enjoyed a lot.

Will Sri Lanka be make-or-break for you?
You can’t say make-or-break for me, I’m just 20 years old. I will try to grab the opportunity. I want to contribute in a winning cause. If I think on these lines, how will I perform?

What is the frame of your mind when you go out to bat?
I just want to be positive and happy because sir (Tarak) says if you are happy the reflexes work well. It’s up to the individual how much pressure you want to put on your mind. Sometimes you take too much pressure on yourself and that is why you get out early. Good batsmen adjust quickly. I just like to take one ball at a time.

Did anybody tell you how good you are?
Everybody says I am good. At the end of the day, all boils down to your performance. You can’t be good or bad in one day. If somebody is saying you are good and you don’t score runs then what is the use of being good? What matters is runs. If you perform the whole world is happy. I always feel when you go inside the dressing room after the day’s play, you should be satisfied that you gave your best shot. You might get out early. But giving your best is the key.

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