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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How Dhoni’s advice to Virat could help Pant

MS had told Virat: ‘There has to be a gap of seven to eight months between one mistake and another.'

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty |
Updated: January 11, 2022 8:20:54 am
The ability to not repeat one’s mistakes paves the way for a long career in international cricket; that was MS Dhoni’s advice to Kohli, pretty early into the latter’s career. (File)

Between the lines, Virat Kohli has a message for Rishabh Pant, as India seek improvement from their wicketkeeper-batsman. The ability to not repeat one’s mistakes paves the way for a long career in international cricket; that was MS Dhoni’s advice to Kohli, pretty early into the latter’s career. Kohli mentioned it, while talking about Pant.

“MS Dhoni gave me an excellent piece of advice at the start of my career… ‘There has to be a gap of seven to eight months between one mistake and another. Only then will you have a long run in international cricket’. That got internalised in my system, that I will not repeat my mistakes. And it can happen only when you are reflecting upon your mistakes. I know Rishabh does this and he will keep improving. He will make sure that he will stand up to be counted in important situations,” Kohli said at the pre-match presser on Monday.

Pant’s hara-kiri at the Wanderers – a mindless slog on the charge against Kagiso Rabada – in the second innings contributed to the tourists’ defeat in the second Test. It made Sunil Gavaskar livid in the commentary box and prompted head coach Rahul Dravid to offer words of wisdom to the youngster after the match.

At 24 years of age, the southpaw is still pretty young. At the same time, he is into his fourth year in international cricket. And going by the nature of his dismissals in England and at Johannesburg, he has been falling prey to similar mistakes. After the second Test, Pant was given a talking-to by the team management.

“We have had conversations with Rishabh during practice. When a batsman gets out playing a shot, the batsman himself knows if he played the right shot or not as regards to the situation. As long as an individual is accepting the responsibility, that leads to progress. We all have made mistakes in our careers. But it’s important to understand the mindset in that particular moment; what was your thought process and what mistake you made. As long as you are accepting your mistakes, learning from them and making sure you aren’t repeating them, you will improve,” Kohli said.

Half-centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have given the two senior batsmen some breathing space and in all likelihood Hanuma Vihari will make way for Kohli at Cape Town. However, the middle-order transition has been a recurring theme, with the likes of Vihari, Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav waiting in the wings.

Virat feels that transition takes its own course. “The game itself kind of pans out in a way where transition happens naturally. It cannot be forced by individuals I feel. And if you look at the last Test, the way Jinks (Rahane) and Pujara batted in the second innings; that experience is obviously priceless for us. Especially in series like this, where you know these guys have done the job in the past. And when you are playing overseas, in tough conditions, these guys will always step up their performances. We saw that in Australia as well.”

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