Virat Kohli praised Rishabh Pant for improving his wicketkeeping by putting in the hard work and losing a lot of weight.
Rishabh Pant had a stellar showing behind the stumps in the second Test against England in Chennai. From diving catches in the first innings to a few lightning-quick stumpings in the seconds, Rishabh Pant’s improved work behind the stumps was one of the highlights of India’s dominating win.
During the post-match presentation, Virat Kohli praised Rishabh Pant for the work he has put in since the Australia series, saying in this regard:
“He has worked physically on himself a lot in Australia. He has shed a lot of weight; he has become quicker on his feet, and it’s showing. The way he kept on this pitch with so much turn and bounce is a credit to him for working so hard.”
Rishabh Pant's ability as a batsman has never been in doubt. But his prowess behind the stumps has often come to the fore, with experts doubting whether the 23-year-old can keep on turning Indian tracks.
However, against England, those fears were laid to rest, as an improved Rishabh Pant shone with the glove as well as provided a glowing exhibition of his mercurial batting talent.
"He has really worked hard in Australia. With a super-skilled batsman like him, you wouldn’t really see the difference in his batting. But when he moves with the gloves, you can see that difference in his reactions and reflexes," observed the victorious Indian captain.
Rishabh Pant’s improved form bodes well for his future in the Indian Test setup. His enhanced keeping ability could also see him make a return to the white-ball side.
Virat Kohli called on Rishabh Pant to improve his game further, admitting that the team is aware of the impact the left-hander can make in games.
“We want him to keep improving as a keeper. Get stronger and stronger with his skillset because we understand how much value he brings to the team,” said Kohli.
Apart from Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel also shone in the second Test
Apart from Rishabh Pant, another player who had a Test to remember was Axar Patel. The all-rounder made an outstanding debut, as he picked up a 5-wicket haul in the second innings.
The 27-year-old came into the side after recovering from a knee injury, and Virat Kohli admitted that Axar Patel would have played the first Test as well if not for an injury.
"It’s a special special moment for him. He would have played the first game as well if he didn’t have that niggle. He was very keen to step out on the field," observed Kohli.
Axar Patel’s impact as a left-arm spinner was evident throughout the Test. The bowler bowled on the turning Chepauk track with machine-like accuracy, and was duly rewarded for his efforts.
Virat Kohli backed Patel, who dismissed Joe Root for his maiden Test wicket, to continue his good form, saying:
"As a left-arm spinner, when you get that kind of a pitch which is turning square, and he bowls very fast, so he was all smiles, and couldn’t wait to get the ball in his hands. Very happy for him, and hope he picks it up from here on and has a very strong couple of games going forward.