Rishabh Pant’s Grown Into a Tremendous Test Cricketer: Brian Lara

Well known to be quite the terrifying opposition during his heydays, Lara was all praise for the Indian pace attack.

Updated
Cricket
3 min read

As India fought back in Australia and against England in their own backyard, registering two comprehensive Test series wins, one of the most important cogs in the wheel was Rishabh Pant.

Criticised heavily up until then for his ways in Test cricket, Pant put on a show, when the team needed him the most – Sydney, Brisbane, and more recently in Ahmedabad at the world’s largest cricket stadium – and former West Indies captain Brian Lara says those working with him behind the scenes have absolutely ‘hit the nail on the head’ in terms of helping the talented youngster do the right things.

Lara, who has watched Pant in the IPL and in India colours from the commentary box on more than a few occasions, acknowledged the marked difference in his style of play in recent months.

“He’s made a consistent effort to work on his game. He was an out and out aggressive player and he would come out and try to smash every ball for the Delhi Capitals or India and on occasions he was successful and on other occasions he would carelessly give his wicket away.

“The last IPL I saw him trying to play more of an anchor role and that obviously is something that needs work. And against Australia and England, he was building his innings and laying the foundation, then accelerating. That is how you structure your innings. And I believe he’s grown into a tremendous Test wicket-keeper batsman,” Lara told The Quint.

Rishabh Pant celebrates his century on Day 2 of the 4th Test against England. 
Rishabh Pant celebrates his century on Day 2 of the 4th Test against England. 
(Image: BCCI)

Lara, who is currently in India for the Road Safety World Series as captain of the West Indies Legends side, smashed an unbeaten half-century against the Sri Lankan side in his most recent outing.

“His wicket-keeping is also world class. Whoever he has spoken to, they’ve hit the nail on the head. Almost 100 percent sure that Pant’s century in the 4th Test will give him far more satisfaction than any other innings in any other format,” the West Indies great added.

Well known to be quite the terrifying opposition during his heydays, Lara was all praise for the Indian pace attack.

“Unbelievable the amount of talent India have in the fast-bowling department, it’s far greater than West Indies.

“India have bowlers who can pretty much walk into the Test arena and perform, we saw that with Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and T Natarajan. Siraj is an exceptional talent. India’s well stacked up with pacers and have good batsmen as well as spinners and are pretty much the best test team in the world now,” he added.

One of the greatest batsmen to have played the game, Lara also had his say on the conversation regarding the playing conditions and noted that the batsmen, in the India-England series, lacked patience.

Mohammed Siraj celebrates the wicket of Steve Smith on Day 4 at the Gabba. 
Mohammed Siraj celebrates the wicket of Steve Smith on Day 4 at the Gabba. 
(Image: PTI)

Lara, who played 131 Tests and scored close to 12,000 runs with 34 centuries, also believes one has to look to perform despite the conditions.

“The pitches are spinner friendly, and you grow accustomed to it. You get on with it! On many occasions I’ve played when I’ve not been satisfied with the surfaces but at the end of the day you have to go and try to perform,” Lara asserted.

“I believe the patience of batsmen and knowing how to get runs on such surfaces was the real lacking factor. Turning over the strike and not allowing the bowler to bowl too much at one batsman and putting pressure on the opposition – things like this did not come through in this series,” he said.

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