As Rishabh Pant played his blitzkrieg innings on Day 1 of the rescheduled fifth Test against England, former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri recalled an old chat with Rishabh Pant and how he had suggested the reverse-sweep to the swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batter. Pant displayed an array of attacking strokeplay as he smashed 146 off 111 deliveries at Edgbaston on Friday. Shastri, who is on commentary duty during the Test, said he had suggested that Pant try “something more outrageous” when he was getting out in a similar fashion on more than one occasion.
Shastri spoke about the chat, which took place when he was still coaching India and Pant was a part of the team.
“Last thing I wanted to do was to tell him to not play that shot. I told him think about it, you’re getting out in this fashion and I am getting bored. Try something more outrageous like the reverse sweep or something of that sort,” Shastri said on-air.
“He looked at me and there was that spark in his eye, ‘you have given me a way out here’. He waited, next Test he got a hundred. He reverse swept Nathan Lyon a couple of times but he waited till Chennai to reverse sweep Anderson for a six. And then he did it to Jofra Archer in one of the ODI games (sic),” Shastri said.
Pant had hit a match-winning 89 not out to help India register a historic win at the Gabba when they toured Australia in 2020-21.
He then went on to reverse-scoop James Anderson when he hit a century in Ahmedabad against England.
The reverse-scoop off Archer came in the T20I series that followed the four Tests.
Even during his knock in Birmingham, Pant tried to reverse-scoop Anderson, but did not get a boundary as he mistimed his effort.
Shastri went on to praise Pant and said that one does not want to curb the natural instinct of a player with his “match-winning ability”.
“But what you tell him, when someone has that match-winning ability, just that natural instinct, you do not want to curb it. You want him to have that confidence when he is going out there, just being a little smarter about the ability he has, the talent. When he is defending, he has a lot of time on his hands,” Shastri said.
Pant’s century, along with Ravindra Jadeja‘s unbeaten 83, helped India reach 338/7 at Stumps on Day 1.
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