Rishabh Pant starred behind the stumps on Day 2 of the second Test. The 23-year-old took two stunning catches, diving full-stretch to his left on both occasions. Also, on a pitch where the spinners were turning it square and whizzing the ball past the batsmen, Pant only gave away four runs in byes.
Addressing a press conference after the day's play on Sunday, Ravichandran Ashwin said he feels for Rishabh Pant.
"I really do feel for Rishabh on a lot of occasions even when I am watching games from home when he is playing the white-ball format. He was constantly compared with the great MS Dhoni for a long time and now he gets compared for his wicket-keeping with Saha. I think sometimes it is better to give a break and let people build on the confidence. And he definitely got the ability, that is why he is here and I have no doubt, he will go from strength to strength from here on," Ashwin said.
Ashwin added that Rishabh Pant has worked "incredibly hard" on his wicket-keeping skills.
"With respect to Rishabh Pant's keeping, the name of the game is confidence. He has been batting well and he has been working incredibly hard on his keeping as well. When you are constantly being compared to someone who has done well for years, it can be really hard," added Ashwin.
Even after his heroics in Australia, there were question marks about Rishabh Pant's wicket-keeping skills, especially in spin-favoring conditions. It would be safe to say that he has managed to silence quite a few of his critics.
On the batting front, Rishabh Pant scored his fourth fifty in as many Tests, thus proving his consistency as a middle-order batsman.
"Playing in front of my home crowd is always special" - Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin has also starred for the hosts in the second Chennai Test. The local boy completed his 29th career fifer in Tests and returned with overall figures of 5-43 in 23.5 overs. Ashwin also went past Harbhajan Singh to become India's second-highest wicket-taker at home.
The off-spinner stated that managing a five-wicket haul in front of the Chennai crowd made the feat even more special.
"It is wonderful to have the crowd back. We had not played with crowds in India for a long time and the Indian cricket fans were also waiting to get back and watch the sport. Also, playing in front of my home crowd is always special for me and to get 5 wickets here is something that I will always cherish and in front of the crowd is even better," said Ravichandran Ashwin.
Brilliant performances by Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, and Rishabh Pant have put India on top in the second Test. The hosts are already 249 runs ahead and are favorites to level the series at 1-1.