Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman has heaped praise on Rishabh Pant, calling him the 'future of Indian cricket' after his matchwinning knock in the IPL 2019 eliminator between SRH and Delhi Capitals at Visakhapatnam.
Pant's 21-ball 49 helped Delhi chase down a target of 163, sealing a spot in the Qualifier 2 against Chennai Super Kings.
“The dangerous Rishabh Pant was still around, and he showcased his ability with a savage assault on Basil Thampi. As painful as it was to be at the receiving end, it was also exhilarating to see Rishabh take on the bowlers," Laxman was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Pant smacked Thampi for 21 runs off five balls in the 18th over, as Delhi won an IPL playoff game for the first time in the history of the tournament.
"He is clearly the future of Indian cricket, and it pleased me no end to witness the maturity he showed, though he will be disappointed that he wasn’t around to finish off the job," Laxman added.
There's been a lot of discussion over the past month about Pant's non-inclusion in India's 15-man 2019 World Cup squad. While some question Pant's temperament, and his tendency to lose his wicket at crucial junctures, others swear by his game-changing abilities with the bat.
Former India cricketer turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar recently praised Pant too, calling him the Virender Sehwag of this generation for his aggressive batting style. In a tweet, Manjrekar said that a player of Pant's calibre 'should be treated differently'.
This season*, Pant has scored 450 runs for the Delhi Capitals, striking the ball at a rate of over 163.
Singled out as the successor to MS Dhoni in all three formats, Pant made his Test debut last year and created an instant impact, scoring a century on English soil, becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to do so.
* All statistics have been updated until the DC-SRH Qualifier 2 game of IPL 2019Published 10 May 2019, 20:29 IST