Former India fielding coach R Sridhar reckons that there are shades of MS Dhoni in the way Rishabh Pant plays his cricket. Sridhar stated that it is not surprising as the youngster has grown up idolizing the legendary cricketer.
Pant has taken over from Dhoni as Team India’s wicketkeeper-batter across all formats. Dinesh Karthik has recently been giving him tough competition in the T20I format, but the 24-year-old is the first-choice gloveman in Tests and ODIs.
Speaking to Cricket.com, Sridhar shared his thoughts on the young keeper-batter. Admitting that Dhoni's influence comes across in his style of play, he said:
“There is a little bit of Mahi in him. Obviously, when you grow up idolizing somebody, they tend to become a part of you. You can see a bit of Mahi in Rishabh. And rightly so, because he grew up idolizing the great man.”
Pant has openly expressed his admiration for Dhoni on more than one occasion. In an Instagram live session with his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals (DC) a few years back, he had commented:
“He (Dhoni) has been like a mentor to me, on and off the field. I can approach him freely with any problem I may be facing, and he will never give me the entire solution for it. This is so that I don’t become entirely dependent on him, he gives me hints."
While Pant leads DC in the IPL, Dhoni has been Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) captain ever since the inception of the T20 tournament.
“He loves a laugh off the field” - R Sridhar on Rishabh Pant's nature
While Pant comes across as a cheeky character on the cricket field, Sridhar reveals that he is a jovial and relaxed character off the field. Sharing his views on the explosive keeper-batter, he said:
“He comes across as very friendly, very jovial. He loves a laugh off the field. He is quite detached from everything else when he is off the field and is very relaxed; someone who likes to have fun. He loves his other sports. A wonderful bloke.”
Having made his international debut in 2017, Pant has represented India in 31 Tests, 27 ODIs and 59 T20Is. He is currently part of the Men in Blue squad that is taking on Australia in a three-match T20I series at home.