Rishabh Pant keen to impress
Since the World Cup in the UK, Rishabh Pant has been going through a rough patch.
But the wicketkeeper-batsman seems ready to bounce back as India host South Africa, with the opening game of the tour being a T20I on September 15 in Dharamsala. Three T20Is will be played before the Tests and ODIs.
“My training and practice are going on quite well. When the matches begin, you will get to see the results then,” Pant said on the sidelines of a promotional on Wednesday.
After aggregating only 116 from four matches in the World Cup, Pant’s only knock of note, in the last three-and-a-half months, has been the unbeaten 65 in the third and final T20I during the tour of the Caribbean. But that too was in an inconsequential game.
In the Tests that followed, he managed just 58 runs in three innings. His inability to make a significant contribution against the West Indies didn’t hurt India, but questions did arise over his place in the XI.
Pant too is aware that he needs to improve.
“The results in the West Indies were great for our team. We played really well to maintain a clean slate.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m concentrating hard to keep improving my game so that I can help Team India win more matches. It’s an important phase,” he emphasised.
South Africa too are going through a torrid time. The defeat to Sri Lanka in the home Tests was followed by an extremely disappointing World Cup campaign.
With heavyweights like Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn no longer available for the visitors, India go into the series with a massive advantage. However, a good start will be crucial, Pant pointed out.
“We have practised really well and our mindset is also very good. The first match is on the 15th (Sunday)… Not far away at all...
“We’ve begun with the necessary planning. Once we reassemble, we’ll chalk out the details.
“Obviously, we’ll be enjoying the home advantage... Not just India, every team that plays at home does well.
“Having said that, it’s a new season and we begin afresh with a home series. For the next six months, we’ll be playing at home, so it’s really important that we get off to a good start,” Pant elaborated.
India have a long schedule at home as they also host Bangladesh and the West Indies after the assignments versus the Proteas. Pant doesn’t want to look too far ahead, though.
“It’s about taking one series at a time. We’ll think about Bangladesh only after we finish playing South Africa.”
Pant doesn’t want to get into comparisons with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, nor is he too concerned about being the frontrunner in the fight to be the former captain’s successor.
“I just love MS. That’s all... Can’t say anything more…
“And to be honest, I am focusing solely on my game. I’m not thinking too far ahead and just taking it match by match. I only want to keep improving. That’s it,” he signed off.