Before India control coach R Sridhar thinks Rishabh Pant succeed in Australia on the iconic 2020-21 tour because he loves the speed and bounce and the challenge that comes with playing in such conditions.
The 2020-21 Australia tour catapulted Pant to superstardom as he played two standout hits. His 97 in Sydney went a long way in India to save the Test match. The left-hander then went 89 matches unbeaten as India beat Australia at The Gabba by three goals to make it 2-1.
Incidentally, Pant was promoted to 5th in batting order in the second half, both in Sydney and at The Gabba. Explaining this move, Sridhar told Cricket.com:
“That decision was made after discussion between Ajinkya Rahane, Ravi Shastri and Vikram Rathour. We needed a left-handed player for left-right coordination and we promoted him to 5th. The brackets are nice and flat. It was a perfect stage and he went hammer and clamp.
“He showed a glimpse in Melbourne when he scored 20 odd points, but Sydney was something different,” Sridhar added.
Analyzing the reasons behind the aggressive left-hander’s success with the willow Down Under, the 52-year-old said:
“He has shown that he is a man born to perform in Australia. He loves the speed, bounce and added challenge that Australian turf fields offer. It brought out the best in him.”
Pant was named Man of the Match for his superb innings in the final test as India chased the number 328 to breach the Australian fortress.
“I still have my pen with me” – R Sridhar reveals the touching gesture of Rishabh Pant
Talking about his interactions with the 24-year-old, Sridhar admits that it is limited because the coaches do not believe in invading the personal space of the players. However, he was moved by a gesture from the young glove-wearer. Revealing similar details, he said:
“We don’t interfere much in his personal space. As a coach, I only talk to him when he has time. But when we retired (Shastri, B Arun and Sridhar’s terms ended last year), he sent a nice little Parker pen the day I retired to my room. He said, ‘all the best, sir’ and I still carry the pen with me. “
Since his stint in Australia, Pant has gone on to play some of the more memorable and highly regarded hits among today’s young smashers.