India vs England 4th Test – Vijay Dhaiya on Rishabh Pant: Phrases can come ‘thick and fast’ to define the ‘diminutive and explosive’ Rishabh Pant before the wicket & a ‘chatterbox’ behind the stumps, who always looked like a ‘talent in abundance’ and now he is finally “coming of age” combining his match winning prowess with match saving ability, feels former India wicket keeper Vijay Dahiya, who has seen Pant’s emergence and resurgence from close quarter.
“He is a phenomena. He is a special player. A natural match winner. He has exceptional batting talent. This innings shows how much he has matured and developed as a player. Mind you, this was not an easy wicket to bat on. Earlier, for all his talent, he was ‘flattering to deceive,’ but now he is “coming of age. He is now the crisis man for Team India,” Vijay Dahiya, who as coach has been witness to Risabh’s ups and downs, told Inside Sports in an exclusive interview on Friday adding that “from a sporadic match winner he has transformed himself into a match saviour (just like in the footstep of MS Dhoni’s). But it’s too early to pass a full verdict on Pant. He needs to play innings like this (the way he played against England today). He needs to show the same level of consistency throughout the year,”
Coming to bat when India were reeling at 80 for four, Rishabh mixed caution with aggression for his timely 101 runs off just 118 balls and quickly took the game away from England on the second day of the 4th Test match and firmly put India in the driver’s seat.
The former India player said that it was food that the Indian selectors had decided to persist and give a ‘long stint’ to the wicketkeeper-batsman despite a ‘string of inconsistent performances’ in the past. “Earlier he played fearless and carefree cricket and his shot selections were rather ordinary and the manner of dismissal quite predictable. He had snapped his innings midway after showing a lot of promise or threw his wicket away. What was the use of that ‘special talent’ if he doesn’t translate that into ‘special innings’ and on a consistent basis? Now he has understood that he needs to prize his wicket and consistency is the key for anyone. Now he is a transformed and matured cricketer and this innings was testimony to this. Pant has started to translate his ‘prodigious talent’ into ‘dynamic performances. It was perhaps high time for Pant to ‘show his mettle’ and deliver ‘when it matters the most,” he observed.