Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant has become the toast of the cricketing fraternity since playing the match-winning knock against Australia to win the Brisbane Test for India last week.
From comparisons with Ben Stokes’s Headingley heroics to Kusal Perera’s Durban destruction, Pant’s innings was compared with the very best of the best by cricket pundits and fans alike.
It was Shubman Gill’s 91 and Pant’s unbeaten 89 on the final day of the fourth Test which helped India pull off the highest successful run chase (328) at the Gabba and become the first team after the West Indies to beat Australia at that venue since 1988.
Pant hit the winning runs, a boundary off Josh Hazlewood to finish the match with just 3 overs to spare, and later picked up the Player of the Match trophy for a truly memorable knock that made the impossible possible as India clinched the series 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the 2nd time in a row in Australia.
Speaking to Boria Majumdar on the latest episode of Sports Today, Pant said he was always focused on going after the target as draw was never an option in his mind.
“The mindset was always to play normal cricket, even the team management spoke about it in the first innings. Let’s look to score runs, cash in on the loose balls, just stick in there and do whatever you can at that time.
“The team management’s plan from the beginning of the match was ‘let’s look to win the match’. Even my thinking has always been to win. I just want to win every game, draw is always the secondary option,” Pant said on Sports Today.
Pant got a lucky break when he Aussie skipper Tim Paine missed a chance to stump the left-hander off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The very next ball he stepped down the track and deposited the ball into the long-on stands, much to the surprise of Lyon.
The 23-year-old explained that there was a method behind the madness and he only went after balls which pitched in his hitting zone.
“When you’re looking to leave a ball that’s turning a lot on the pitch then it’s fine but if you’re going to play a shot then chances are that you can miss it because normally the ball doesn’t deviate as much.
“At that time I thought ‘one ball turned so much and Lyon is such an experienced bowler so he will try to turn one away from the stumps. I knew he was going to try and spin one away from the stumps so I was ready to step out and hit him if he bowls a tossed up delivery.
“Otherwise I hadn’t planned that I was going to step out and look to hit a big shot in any case. But if the ball lands in my area then I think it has to be hit out of the ground,” Pant said.