was the cornerstone of his illustrious 146 India’s remarkable recovery on opening day of rescheduled fifth Test Against England and flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant said the secret of his valor was “mentally disturbing the bowlers”.
Coming to bat when India were at 98 for 5, Pant played a swashbuckling knock against England to take India to 338 for 7 at stumps on Friday. His brilliant innings of 111 balls had 19 fours and four sixes.
“In English conditions, if a bowler pitches it, it is important to disturb his momentum, that’s what I think,” the 24-year-old Pant told the media after the end of the day’s play.
Whether it was England pacer James Anderson, who shook India early with his 3/52, or captain Ben Stokes, who offered the short-pitched stuff, Pant looked ridiculously comfortable during his blitzkrieg.
“I don’t try to play one-sided, rather I try different shots – sometimes I get out, or play on the backfoot. I keep using the crease well. It can disturb the bowler mentally. It’s about doing and things happen. It’s not pre-planned. I just focus on what the bowler is trying to do.”
Pant said that it is about showing respect for good deliveries and he has paid equal attention to his defensive aspect of the game.
He said, yes, I have worked a lot on my defence. My coach Tarak Sinha sir told me a long time ago that you can attack any bowler but at the same time he has always emphasized on playing defensively.
“You can’t be defensive or attacking with every ball. I try to focus on each ball and play it to the best of its ability. It’s a good sign to show respect for a good ball. I’m more on defense. I am not concentrating but I am focusing on my game.
“I might play a few different shots sometimes, but it’s about giving your 100 percent. If a ball has to be hit, I go for it. I try to back it up over time and it Really helping me.”
He shared a record 222-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja as India went down the barrel in the post-lunch session, losing five wickets within 28 overs.
The duo eventually took the team past the 300-run mark with the sixth wicket, the most for an Indian team in England.
“When you lose a lot of wickets very quickly, you have to give yourself more time. I just tried to partner with Jaddu bhai and not lose a wicket before tea and it worked for us. (Coach ) Rahul (Dravid) bhai told me that I should play one ball at a time and not focus too much on other things.
“The discussion was about building small, small partnerships, maybe in the 25-30s, that’s how you turn it into a big one. Yes, there was pressure in the beginning, but I just focused on the process. It’s like this It’s about what I want to do. A player and not what the opposition is thinking,” he said.
Up 2-1 in the series, India were in a troubled build-up as their captain Rohit Sharma was ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19. England, on the other hand, were coming in after a 3-0 win over World Test champions New Zealand.
But Pant said that his team has enough time to prepare for the rescheduled match.
“We practiced well as a team, we also had a practice match. We had enough time to get into the mindset of playing Tests,” he concluded.