Rishabh Pant. Photograph:( AFP )
Rishabh Pant endured a tough last 12 months due to his fitness and poor run of form with the bat. The southpaw emerged as India's highest-run scorer against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Here's what Pant said about his struggling period after ICC World Cup 2019.
Rishabh Pant had gone through a tough last 12 months due to his inconsistent run of form. With MS Dhoni going into a sabbatical after the ICC World Cup 2019, all eyes were on Pant to take the wicket-keeping duties with the additional responsibility of winning matches for India with the willow. However, Pant failed to hit consistent run with both gloves and bat and lost his spot in the playing XI across formats.
Pant was heavily criticised post-lockdown for his lack of fitness and continued to disappoint his fans with the bat. However, the southpaw turned the tables and helped India win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 by scoring the most runs by an Indian batsman in the series (274). Pant's aggressive approach and ability to hit the ball all around the park helped him dominate the likes of Nathan Lyon and Aussie pacers.
It was due to Pant's smashing 97-run knock that India came close to winning the Sydney Test before drawing it. His 89 not-out then helped India end Australia's 32-year-old unbeaten run at the Gabba in Brisbane as the visitors won the series 2-1.
Pant, after returning back to India, reflected back on the phase where he was struggling to hit form.
"The journey from World Cup 2019 to this has been quite good so far. There have been ups and downs, the World Cup was a massive opportunity because it comes once in every 4 years. But I got out in my 30s, I was very disappointed because that was one of the biggest opportunities for me,” Pant told India Today.
"I was not happy that I couldn't win the game for my team. My career hit a low after the WC, but then slowly I started increasing my focus towards the game because there is always scope for improvement in life. I've realised that there is no limit to how much you can improve, that's what I've got to know in these last 2 years."
"I think good things will happen if you keep improving yourself and focus on the things that you want to do," Pant said.
When you're doing well people will write good but when you're not they will criticise you. It's part and parcel of a cricketer's life nowadays. So if you don't focus on the criticism and instead focus on your cricket then that's much better I guess," he added.
Pant will next feature in India's full-fledged home series against England, starting from February 5.