India’s young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant admitted that the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was a life-changing season for him and provided him the actual breakthrough to push his case strongly for a place in the national side. Pant scored 684 runs in 14 matches in that season at an impressive average of 52.61. The left-hander hammered six half-centuries and scored runs at a noteworthy strike rate of 158.41. It was the most number of runs scored by a Delhi Capitals batsman in a single season. Also Read - Virat Kohli, Sunil Chhetri Mourn Kerala Elephant Tragedy, Call For Stringent Action Against Perpetrators
During an Instagram live chat session with his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals, the 22-year-old revealed that the advice given to him by BCCI President Sourav Ganguly worked brilliantly in his favour. Ganguly was the mentor of the DC franchise in the 2018 season. Pant said: “You need to give yourself some time and then you can do whatever you want to do. He always wanted me to do well. He told me a few things and I tried them also. It helped.” Also Read - ICC Cricket Committee Chief Anil Kumble Bats For More Spinner-friendly Pitches Post Lockdown to Maintain Balance
“That was a life-changing season for me. I needed that breakthrough which everyone needs,” Pant said while adding that the Delhi are still eager to end their wait for the maiden IPL trophy. Also Read - Three Sri Lanka Cricketers Under ICC investigation For Match-fixing: SL Sports Minister
“The core group always thinks of winning IPL for Delhi. We qualified for the knockouts last time and came third.”
The explosive left-hander also showered words of praise on Delhi Capitals coach and Australian legend Ricky Ponting. Pant says Ponting always encouraged him to play his natural game. “He gives me a free hand. He says do whatever you want to do.”
During the interaction, Pant also added that he loves playing Test cricket and it is the real deal where you are challenged over five days.
Before the cricketing action was stopped due to the spread of novel coronavirus, Pant had lost his place in the team in white-ball cricket to KL Rahul during India’s tour of New Zealand.
Pant’s inconsistencies cost him as the Indian team management handed over the wicketkeeping gloves to Rahul. But the 22-year old was picked ahead of veteran stumper Wriddhiman Saha in the two Tests which India lost 0-2 in New Zealand.
“I love playing Tests. You can give yourself time. Mostly you can test yourself in Test cricket. When I was playing four-day first-class games, I had heard it is the real test but when I played five-day cricket…it was like you need to put in that extra effort,” Pant said.