Wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been a Delhi boy through and through. Whether it be turning out for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy or Delhi Daredevils-turned-Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, Rishabh Pant has made the national capital his own.
The 22-year-old considers the 2018 season as a turning point in his career that helped him get fast-tracked him to the Indian national team. Rishabh Pant went on to represent India in the 2019 World Cup. After failing to make the initial squad, Rishabh Pant replaced an injured Shikhar Dhawan.
IPL 2018 was a life-changing season for me: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant said that IPL 2018 was a life-changing season for him as was on the lookout for a 'big breakthrough' for a while.
“I consider that a life-changing season of IPL, because whenever a young cricketer plays, he is looking for a big breakthrough. I was doing well but I knew that I had to be excellent, so I always strive to do more than just good and try and be more consistent,” Rishabh Pant told Delhi Capitals on Instagram.
Rishabh Pant ended the IPL 2018 season with 684 runs from 14 innings – the most by a Delhi Capitals player – at an average of 52.61 with five fifties and one century.
In addition to being selected for ODIs, Rishabh Pant went on to become the number one wicketkeeper in the Indian Test team, scoring centuries in England and Australia.
One of the innings that Rishabh Pant feels was the highlight of his 2018 IPL season was the one he scored against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Ferozeshah Kotla. The Delhi Capitals batsman smashed an unbeaten 128 runs off 63 balls with 15 fours and seven sixes to take his team from 43/3 to 187/5.
Rishabh Pant’s knock was the highest IPL score by an Indian batsman but it wasn’t enough for the team as Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson plundered 92* and 83* respectively to take the Hyderabad franchise home.
“It was a different feeling because the wicket was a bit difficult. The ball was stopping a bit initially, and we had lost a few wickets as well.
“I felt like I had a responsibility to lift my team out of trouble and help post a good total. We had decided that 150-160 would be a good target on that wicket, but we ended up getting 190-something,” Rishabh Pant said about his century in that IPL game.
During that innings, Rishabh Pant was involved in a near run-out incident, which could have been his fourth in as many innings. The diminutive batsman then channelled his pent-up frustration to launch a savage attack on the hapless Sunrisers bowlers.
The young batsman took apart Bhuvneshwar Kumar, plundering the experienced fast bowler for 43 runs off 11 balls, scoring five successive boundaries in his final over.
“In the second innings the wicket got better to bat on, and there was dew. But it was one of the most amazing feeling. Whatever cricket I’ve played, I would rate that innings as one of my top five knocks."
Rishabh Pant, however, rued that one of the best innings of his young career came in a losing cause.
“If we’d won the match, it couldn’t have gotten bigger than that. You don’t feel the importance of an innings like that when the team loses,” Rishabh Pant said.Published 30 Jun 2020, 18:24 IST