Rishabh Pant's style of play puts him in the pantheon of greats known for bashing the ball

Rishabh Pant vs England: Who won that battle?

Rishabh Pant's not the sort of cricketer you would expect to play textbook cricket. In fact, he's far from it. But what you can count on him for is to whack the ball as hard as he can if it's in his arc.

There's no flamboyance, finesse, or even grace for that matter. If you'd like that, rewind the clock when Aravinda de Silva and Sachin Tendulkar wreaked havoc with their blades. Pant doesn't need it. He knows how to bludgeon the ball, and that helps him sleep a lot more peacefully at night.

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England clearly didn't see the wicket-keeper bat's onslaught coming when he came out to bat at Edgbaston in the first innings. Perhaps they were so focused on getting the top order off quickly enough that they didn't see a storm in Pant, who blasted his way to a 111-ball-146. It wasn't an innings of class. On the contrary, it was pure power and a bit of luck.

Nonetheless, it was a masterclass in brute hitting. He followed the century with another fine innings — a fifty, this time coming off 86 deliveries. Composed, but wasn't devoid of some booming hits to the fence.


Rishabh Pant vs England: Who won that battle?

England may have won the war, but it is safe to say that Rishabh Pant won the battle. His fearless approach meant Ben Stokes was forced to make changes. Nobody was safe from the sort of shellacking he rolled out. Neither Jimmy Anderson nor Matthew Potts were spared. Stuart Broad was no exception either.

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Jack Leach and Joe Root lobbed some tempting deliveries, only for them to be retrieved from the fence. His bruising innings cost England 19 fours and four sixes before Root managed to toss one slower and wider enough for him to slash and find Zak Crawley at slip.

But the damage was done and Ravindra Jadeja rubbed some salt into England's wounds by notching up his century. The result may not have gone India's way, and while Jonny Bairstow was having his summer of a lifetime, Rishabh Pant was just too happy to go out there and play his usual innings.

It was all there. Those one-handed swipes, those chases to deliveries away from his reach, those deft IPL shots, a few drives and some hoicks. The 24-year-old was quintessentially doing what he does best.

Far too often, the young gloveman makes headlines for his audacious shot selection or his constant chirping behind the stumps. The former puts him in a lot more trouble and the approach has always been a double-edged sword.

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Perhaps it's time for the country to make peace with Rishabh Pant's style of play. If they can do it for Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden — the professors of ball-bashing - then they can do it with Pant as well, who’s right up there in their league. That is how he plays, and if he can get the job done, then that should suffice.

With the Test done and dusted, all eyes will be on the in-form Pant when he plays the limited-overs leg of the tour. It remains to be seen if he can replicate his red-ball form, but if he can't, then expect that crack, whack, boom to continue.

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Edited by
Aranya Chaudhury
 
 
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