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Rishabh Pant expresses disappointment at missing out on De Villiers' record

Rishabh revealed that he had his eyes set on surpassing De Villiers' record for the fastest ODI century, albeit at the senior level.

Rishabh Pant India Cricket AB de Villiers
Pant revealed that he had his eyes set on surpassing De Villiers’ record for the fastest ODI century

India U-19 have been impressive in their Under-19 World Cup campaign so far with victories over Ireland, New Zealand and Nepal, thus, qualifying for the quarter-finals stage by topping their group. Under coach Rahul Dravid’s guidance, India’s junior cricketers are living up to the expectations and quite a few of the players are not doing too bad either on the personal front. 

The main architects of the victory over Nepal earlier today – Rishabh Pant, who scored the fastest ever half-century at the Under-19 level on the way to his knock of 78 from just 24 balls and Avesh Khan, who picked up three wickets to take his tally to nine from three matches – expressed their delight at how the day turned out and also spoke about their IPL ambitions after the match. 

Pant. though happy with his record-breaking knock, sounded a bit disappointed as he missed out on surpassing his idol, AB de Villiers’ record for the fastest ODI century, which came off 31 balls, albeit at the senior level. 

“When I reached 78, it struck me that I can make a record,” said Pant, as reported by Wisden India. “So I went for it, and in the process missed the ball and got out.”

The 18-year-old, who has a base price of 10 lakh for the IPL auctions scheduled to take place on February 6, admitted that impressing the various franchises is something he keeps in mind but added that it is not something he keeps reminding himself off. 

“It is always in the mind but it wasn’t during the match,” said the youngster. 

Avesh Khan’s variations breeding success

Avesh Khan India Cricket
Avesh said that he varied his bowling according to the opposition and the pitches on offer

Avesh Khan has been the pick of the bowlers so far for India with combined figures of  28-4-90-9. He is the second leading wicket-taker in the tournament as of now and speaking about his performances so far, Avesh said that he varies his bowling depending upon the opposition batsmen and the wickets on offer. 

“I always plan to bowl in the right areas. The wicket was bit soft today and had some moisture so I was bowling fuller. I wanted to make the batsmen play,” he said after the game against Nepal.

“I try to bowl according to the batsman. These are slow wickets so (if) I offer too much pace to the batsmen it will make things easier for them,” he said, revealing his plan with the old ball. “I try to vary my pace and focus on bouncers too. I try off cutters, leg cutters, slower balls and not the kind of length balls I try with the new ball. Cutters and slower ones come handy when batsmen slog.”

The most impressive statistic from Avesh’s bowling so far has been the number of dot balls he has bowled. Out of 168 deliveries, 120 were dot balls – a staggering 71.42%. Avesh said that it was something the team was trying to do as a whole to pressurise the opposition into giving their wickets away. 

“The team’s plan is to bowl dots in the beginning if we are not getting any wickets. We want to give as less runs as possible in the first ten overs. With the help of that plan only we get wickets,” Avesh said. 

A modest Avesh credited his new-ball partner and roommate Khaleel Ahmed, who in spite of going wicketless so far, has been complimenting Avesh well with his line and length.  

“Our understanding is pretty good. We always plan things out and like to build pressure,” said Avesh. “We say things like, ‘You have to build pressure if they attack me and I will build pressure if they attack you’. In the starting ten overs, we try to not let the batsmen hit out.”

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