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Saturday, October 24, 2020

‘Ricky Ponting gives me full freedom at Delhi Capitals’: Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant had scored over 650 runs in 14 matches in the 2018 IPL at an average of 52.61 and a strike rate of 158.41 with six half-centuries.

By: PTI | Updated: May 1, 2020 9:51:57 pm
Delhi Capitals Rishabh Pant celebrates after scoring a half-century in IPL. (AP/File Photo)

Rishabh Pant’s propensity to go for the jugular at the outset has often led to his downfall but his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals’ coach Ricky Ponting still allows him the freedom to do “whatever” he wants to.

“He gives me a free hand. He says do whatever you want to do,” Pant said during an Instagram chat with his franchise.

He also called the IPL 2018 season a “life-changing” one for him. Pant had scored over 650 runs in 14 matches in that IPL at 52.61 and a strike rate of 158.41 with six half-centuries.

“That was a life-changing season for me. I needed that breakthrough which everyone needs,” he said. “The core group always thinks of winning IPL for Delhi. We qualified for the knockouts last time and came third.”

He also spoke about the challenges of playing Test cricket. “I love playing Tests. You can give yourself time. Mostly you can test yourself in Test cricket. When I was playing four-day first-class games, I had heard it is the real test but when I played five-day cricket… it was like you need to put in that extra effort.”

The 22-year-old was picked ahead of veteran stumper Wriddhiman Saha in the two Tests which India lost 0-2 in New Zealand.

READ | ‘Rishabh Pant as dominant as Yuvraj and Sehwag’: Suresh Raina

Recalling his early days of struggle, the Roorkee-born Pant said he used to take a bus at 2 o’clock in the night to travel to Delhi for practice.

“They (Uttarakhand) did not have a cricket team at that point. So I used to take the bus at 2 am at night. That time it used to take six hours by road. It was difficult during winters as it was too cold. There was fog also. It’s been a good journey (as I look back). At the end of the day, you have to work hard to achieve your goal,” said Pant, who has played 13 Tests, 16 ODIs, and 28 T20Is so far.

Pant said that seniors such as MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan help him a lot along with former stars Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina.

Speaking about his idol Adam Gilchrist, Pant said: “Over a period of time I have realised that you have to learn from your idol but you don’t have to copy him. You learn things which you like and can implement in life and cricket. You need to have your own identity.”

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