Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen believes Rishabh Pant may have permanently turned a corner in his International career following his heroic exploits in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The wicket-keeper-batsman hit a series-winning 89 not out as he marshaled Team India to victory in the fourth Test at the Gabba earlier this week. The visitors successfully chased down 328 runs on the fifth day to win the four-match seres 2-1. Rishabh Pant had previously carved out a crucial knock of 97 in the third Test to help his side secure a draw at the SCG.
Speaking in his role as an ambassador for Betway, Kevin Pietersen applauded Team India for their resolve in coming back from a 1-0 deficit early in the Test series to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. He also reserved special praise for Rishabh Pant.
"India’s team mentality was unbelievable, but you still need your best players to stand up and be counted. Fortunately, they found a little gem in Rishabh Pant," said Kevin Pietersen.
KeviPietersen, who retired from all forms of the game in 2018, admitted that he had been critical of Pant in the past for throwing away his wicket too easily. But the Englishman is hopeful that the southpaw's recent form is a sign of things to come for Team India.
"Pant is inconsistent and has been inconsistent for a while. I remember criticizing him in the IPL, saying that he just gets out exactly the same way time after time. I hope for India's sake and for his sake that what he's achieved over the last five days turns him from a boy into a man, in cricketing terms, because he’s so talented and exciting," stated Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen further added in this regard:
"He can hit the ball wherever he wants to hit the ball, but he's never really played the situation and I feel the way that he guided India to victory showed that he can do it. He can do more than just play one way. He can be inspired by his performance and the way that he guided India home."
Kevin Pietersen feels the IPL helps prepare young Indian players for international cricket
Team India's victory over Australia in Brisbane was all the more remarkable given the visitors were missing no less than six first-choice players for the deciding Test in Brisbane.
Kevin Pietersen argues that a major reason behind India having so many talented players in reserve is the existence of the IPL. Having played with and against so many Australian players in IPL 2020, Pietersen feels Team India youngsters had little fear of their opposition in the recently-completed Test series.
"Pant and the other even more inexperienced members of this India team represent yet another nod to the IPL, which is the greatest academy for cricket in the world and the product of India’s unbelievable strength in depth. You’ve got young players coming into this intense arena who have played with and against lots of the Australian stars before," reasoned Kevin Pietersen.
He further added:
"That fear of international superstars doesn’t exist – they are team-mates in their IPL franchises, they’ve whacked them all over the place or they’ve knocked them over. It was a stroke of genius from Lalit Modi and the BCCI to create a league which has enabled Indian players to flourish home and away. They are reaping the rewards now."
India will next take on England in a four-match Test series on home soil, with the first game starting from 5th February in Chennai.