IPL 2022: "Learn from Dhoni but you have to do what he used to do at your age" - Ajay Jadeja's advice for Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant (L) and MS Dhoni. (File/BCCI)
Rishabh Pant (L) and MS Dhoni. (File/BCCI)
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Rudransh Khurana

Former cricketer Ajay Jadeja has advised Rishabh Pant to "not even try" replicating what his idol, MS Dhoni, does at the age of 40. Instead, he said, the Delhi Capitals (DC) skipper should learn from what Dhoni used to do in his 20s.

Jadeja's remarks came ahead of the Capitals' match against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Wednesday. Before the match, DC had won just five games from 11, struggling to keep up in the race for the top four places.

Rishabh Pant looked especially bogged down under the pressure of multitasking, repeating mistakes while making bowling changes, and failing to convert quick 20s and 30s into big scores.

When asked about the same in an interaction with Cricbuzz, Jadeja pointed to Pant's recent picture with Dhoni after their match against each other.

He feels that the youngster has been asked to mature ahead of his time and will need lessons from Dhoni's career to overcome the pressure and play more freely.

He said:

"Yes you have to go through the heat, there's no doubt about that. I can only suggest one thing. I saw his photo on social media and he sat in front of Dhoni with his hands behind his ears, so I say 'Hold your ears in front of this guy and just learn.'
"So the only suggestion is to learn from Dhoni but you have to do what he used to do at your age. You should not even try doing what he does now. He's a young player but feels like he has been made a senior statesman very early."

The young Dhoni, who Jadeja refers to here, didn't have a brilliant start to his T20I captaincy career either as he scored at a strike rate of 128.33 in the 2007 T20 World Cup. But he didn't lose his attacking instinct, which paid off in the long run.

The Legend MS Dhoni talking to Rishabh Pant, Axar and Kuldeep Yadav after the yesterday's match.

Rishabh Pant has tried to do something similar too and it shows in his strike rate of 152.72, which is much better than in the last two years. If the Capitals have to qualify, they'll need him to build on it and perhaps even win some games on his own.

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"You don't have to run everything on your own" - Parthiv Patel to Rishabh Pant

Arrived on the scene as an absolute smasher, living it like an audacious entertainer 🤩🔥4️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ T20 runs for our Captain Pantastic 💙#YehHaiNayiDilli | #IPL2022 | #RRvDC | #TATAIPL | #IPL | #DelhiCapitals | @RishabhPant17

Speaking in the same video, former gloveman Parthiv Patel also asked Rishabh Pant to focus on enjoying his game and polishing his unique abilities, which Dhoni also calls the "process".

He said most of the other management work should be left to head coach Ricky Ponting and the assistant coaches. Patel said:

"When you are the captain, you do get that extra responsibility but you don't have to run everything on your own. For that, you have Ricky Ponting, Pravin Amre, Ajit Agarkar - a lot of people who could take that load for you.
"At this age and the way he has been playing, his focus should be on enjoying the game and focusing on his playing style. He's a different player, not everyone has the ability he has. For that to come good, he'll need to back himself and enjoy the game.
"The more he does it, the better he'll get. Dhoni is 40 years old and he'll be like him when he gets there but for that, he'll have to follow that, 'process' that Dhoni talks about."

It remains to be seen when Rishabh Pant will score that big knock but on Wednesday he made sure that DC comfortably crossed the line against RR, hitting a composed 13 (4).

This was their sixth win of the year and took them to 12 points.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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