Manchester: Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer was left in awe of wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant’s incredible knock of 125 not out in 113 balls, laced with 16 fours and two sixes, saying that it is outstanding to see how the left-handed batter comes up with knocks which change the course of the series.
Pant had begun the tour of England with a stroke-filled 146 runs in the first innings and followed it up with yet another impactful knock of 56 in the second innings of the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston. On Sunday, Pant signed off from the tour with an unbeaten 125, giving India a 2-1 ODI series victory.
“Rishabh Pant is in brilliant form and has already played some incredible knocks in his short career. For someone who’s just 24 years old, it’s outstanding how he comes up with series-changing knocks. He’s played two outstanding knocks in this short tour of England. While the result didn’t go in India’s way in the Test match where he got a hundred, he made sure this time that he finished on the right side,” said Jaffer to ESPNCricinfo after the match ended.
Jaffer pointed out that Pant was content in playing second fiddle to Hardik Pandya (71), who was the aggressor in the 133-run partnership for the fifth wicket, rescuing India from 72-4 in 16.2 overs and once the all-rounder fell, the left-handed batter stepped up with his aggressive stroke play to help India chase down 260 with 47 balls to spare.
“With Pandya going at a good strike rate, he was happy to hang back and play second fiddle. He took over when he got the opportunity. But as soon as Pandya got out, it was a conscious effort to take that total down so low that it won’t be hard for India to chase it down even if they lose more wickets. It shows how mature he’s become. He rotated the strike and didn’t let that ego come in.”
After the 100-run loss at Lord’s, skipper Rohit Sharma had demanded for the batters to change their mindset and think positively to avoid meltdowns in run chases. Now with Pant and Pandya producing the desired performance, Jaffer felt Rohit would have been pleased with how the duo stepped up after the top-order fell early at Manchester.
“When Rohit Sharma took on the captaincy, he said that he wanted to see how India respond when they are 10/3 because they rely so heavily on their top three. He will be very, very happy with how Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant built that partnership after the side were 72/4. It’s incredible to see these two guys stand up. Pandya has been tremendous with both bat and ball.”