Yuvraj Singh lauded young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant for his match-winning knock Sunday against Mumbai Indians. The left-handed batsman said that Pant is an outstanding talent, who needs to be groomed and has the potential to be the next big thing in Indian cricket.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Yuvraj said, “I can’t really say about (World Cup) selection but Rishabh was outstanding today.”
“He (Pant) had an outstanding season last year as well. He is playing well in Test matches as well. To score two hundreds overseas at such an age (21 years) shows his character. It is important that we groom him well and hopefully he is the next big thing for us,” he said.
Pant hit a match-winning 78 off just 27 balls for Delhi Capitals against Mumbai Indians, which helped his team kick-off their campaign with a 37-run win. Chasing a stiff target of 214, Mumbai were bundled out on 176 in 19.2 overs.
Speaking about the defeat, Yuvraj said that Rohit Sharma’s early dismissal and the lack of partnerships in the middle didn’t help.
“Losing Rohit early (was one of the reasons). (Quinton) de Kock was going well but (we) lost his wicket. (Kieron) Pollard came and quickly lost his wicket. We really couldn’t get partnerships going. The wicket was more of 180-190 wicket, 215 (213) was quite a match-winning score,” he said.
The 37-year-old was the only batsman from the Mumbai team to score a half-century. He scored 53 off 35 balls before he was dismissed by Kagiso Rabada.
On being asked about his retirement plans, Yuvraj said, “When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang my boots.” The left-handed batsman admitted he has been inconsistent in the last two years and was indecisive about the future.
“The last two years, have been up and down (for me). And I could not decide on what to do,” he said.
The cricketer said that after introspecting he found that he still enjoys the game just as he did when he was an Under-16 cricketer.
“The main thing for me was why I played the game when I started off. I played the game because I enjoyed playing cricket. When I enjoyed playing cricket, I was not playing for India. I was playing for U-14s and U-16s. So till the time, I enjoy playing cricket, I am going to play,” he said.
He said he had sought help from the Mumbai team’s mentor Sachin Tendulkar, as he could relate with his situation.
“I have been speaking to Sachin (Tendulkar) as well and he has gone through that time when he was 37-38-39 (and how he felt). Talking to him makes things easier for me. And I am just playing because I enjoy playing cricket pretty much,” he said.