Former Australian left-arm unorthodox spinner Brad Hogg believes Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant must continue playing exactly the way he did on Day 5 of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
Rishabh Pant, sent in ahead of Hanuma Vihari after stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed in only the second over of the day, scored a blistering knock of 97 off just 118 balls. Plundering 12 fours and three huge sixes, the 23-year-old put the hosts on the backfoot and raised hopes of an unexpected Indian win, which was eventually not to be.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Brad Hogg explained why the southpaw should not be blamed for playing a high-risk innings.
"Rishabh Pant, the aggressive style. There are some people that say he shouldn't be playing like that, others say just let him play with freedom. I am on the side 'let him play with freedom'. Yes, the way that he came out to the crease, he was a little conservative early. He got the pace of the wicket. He was 7 off 36 deliveries. After that, he let sail. In 82 balls, he scored 90 runs for the rest of that innings," Brad Hogg said.
The 49-year-old continued in this regard:
"He was on 97; people say that he threw it away. But he was in momentum; he was in the groove. Let him go after the bowling, and if it comes off, it comes off. You live with the sword, you die with the sword."
Rishabh Pant took his time to get going, scoring only seven runs off his first 36 balls. However, the left-hander soon changed gears and took on Nathan Lyon, smashing him down the ground on multiple occasions, even when there were fielders at the boundary.
Rishabh Pant instilled a little bit of fear into the Australians: Brad Hogg
Brad Hogg said that Rishabh Pant's whirlwind knock gave Team India an outside chance of completing a miraculous chase. His 148-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara floored Australia, and the hosts had started to panic.
"Rishabh Pant didn't quite get his hundred. But what he did, he changed the momentum of the game. You could see the body language of the Australians; they were starting to have a little bit of fear," Brad Hogg said.
At one point, 157 runs were needed from 57 overs, with the well-set pair of Rishabh Pant and Pujara at the crease. Although Pant was dismissed at the wrong time, Hogg feels the 23-year-old was successful in significantly denting the confidence of the Australian bowlers.
"The game that they should win was going to be taken away from them with an exciting innings from Pant. That emotion of the Australians, they couldn't get it back to the positive nature when Vihari and Ashwin were at the crease," Hogg further added.
Rishabh Pant's knock couldn't get India past the finish line at the SCG but laid the platform for Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin to eke out a highly creditable draw.
Despite possessing arguably the best bowling attack in the world, Australia couldn't make any further inroads. Vihari and Ashwin successfully batted out 43 overs to help the visitors draw the SCG Test, something that didn't look possible after Ajinkya Rahane's dismissal.
With Vihari ruled out of the series due to a hamstring injury and Ravindra Jadeja out with a broken thumb, Rishabh Pant is likely to play as a pure batsman in the fourth Test at the Gabba.
Even with a bruised elbow, Rishabh Pant instilled belief in the team that all was not lost even after Rahane was back in the hut.
Although a win was not to be, Pant provided another brutal reminder of his destructive prowess, something Australia will be wary of at the Gabba.Published 12 Jan 2021, 13:33 IST