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IPL 2019: Is Rishabh Pant over-rated or over-confident?

Vishal Rathi
ANALYST
Feature
557   //    Timeless

Rishabh Pant (Image Courtesy: BCCI/IPLT20.com)
Rishabh Pant (Image Courtesy: BCCI/IPLT20.com)

When a promising talent from Delhi exploded for India in the 2016 U19 World Cup, the cricketing world paused and took notice of this new bloke’s abilities. The tournament marked the beginning of none other than Rishabh Pant.

Touted as MS Dhoni’s successor since his early days, Pant did not harm his reputation by scoring runs at a brisk rate in domestic cricket. Although he remained bit inconsistent owing to his attacking style of play, IPL 2017 proved to be his breakthrough moment; playing for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), he finished the tournament with 366 runs. 

In IPL 2018, Pant went one step further and finished second in the race for the Orange Cap. He scored 684 runs in the campaign including a breath-taking hundred against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Unlike the past, Pant remained consistent in the tournament, and a new superstar seemed to have arrived at the scene.

Pant was then fast-tracked into the Indian cricket Team, and he has got plenty of opportunities in all three formats of the game since then. But while he has shown tremendous promise in the Test arena, he hasn’t justified his spot in the blue jersey whenever he has got the chance. 

In his 14 T20I innings, Pant has only scored 234 runs at an average of 19.50, striking at a paltry 120. Those are not at all good numbers for a power hitter. Moreover, he has only scored 93 runs in 4 ODI innings, at a sub-par average of 23. 

In IPL 2019, Delhi Capitals have set high expectations from their young star. Pant didn’t disappoint his franchise in their tournament opener against Mumbai Indians, as he scored a blistering knock of 78 runs in a mere 27 deliveries. Since then, however, he has faded away. 

For all the potential Pant possesses, he has been consistently inconsistent. Despite all those regular failures in limited overs cricket, he hardly seems to be looking for ways to improve his game. The mounting failures have made us second-guess Pant capabilities; is he over-rated or over-confident?

Whenever Pant bats there is a sense of confidence in his shots. Power-hitting is his natural game, but that sometimes works like a two-edged sword in the game of cricket. While it is pleasing to the eyes whenever Pant strikes the cricket ball cleanly, it looks hideous when the shot doesn't pay off and he loses his wicket in the process.

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Pant is a player with immense confidence in his abilities, so he sometimes tries to go after the bowler from the word go. So when he gets out in the process, it seems like he is a bit over-confident about his game.

It goes without saying that Pant needs to be more patient at the beginning of his innings. He needs to play according to the match situation, and respect the bowler when he demands respect. Doing those things will not take anything away from his batting.

We have already seen in Virat Kohli’s case that being confident about your own game is not wrong, even if it looks arrogant. However, if you're confident, you must back that up with consistent performances on the ground. No amount of talent in the world can preclude the need for hard work, and flamboyance alone can't keep you in the team for very long.

It is evident from Pant's performances in Tests that he has the ability to play at the highest level. However, he has to put his head down, learn from his mistakes, and work on his consistency if he wants to take over the Dhoni’s throne in the Indian team.

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