Aakash Chopra Former India batter praises wicket-keeper-batter Rishabh Pant       

     Former India batter praises wicket-keeper-batter Rishabh Pant       


    Former India batter Aakash Chopra on Friday, March 4, heaped praises on wicket-keeper-batter Rishabh Pant for his stupendous knock of 96 off only 97 balls against Sri Lanka in the first innings of the first Test in Mohali. India were in a spot of bother with five wickets down for 228 runs and most of the batters on such occasions would have tried stitching a slow partnership. But there was no room for such thoughts when Pant is at the crease as he went after the spinners.

    The southpaw smashed 22 runs in an over of Lasith Embuldeniya who was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers. He did not show mercy to the other spinner, Dhananjaya de Silva, either and hit nine fours and four sixes en route his 96. He started slowly but shifted gears after reaching fifty. However, the new ball did the trick against Pant and he fell short of a well-deserved century by just four runs. Chopra was quite impressed with Pant’s abilities to clear the ropes consistently and noted his disappointment over Pant missing out on a century for the fifth time now. But he hailed the youngster for rescuing India from a tricky position and felt the 96 was more than a century.

    “Rishabh Pant, this player is enriching cricket and unfortunately the obsession we have with milestones, he is not allowing us to enjoy that because he has been dismissed in the nineties for the fifth time. If someone tells me this ninety is less than a hundred, that’s not fair. India found themselves once again in little trouble. We lost our fourth wicket at 175. There is a partnership, and then another wicket falls from the other end, but this guy (Pant) is stellar,” Chopra said in his YouTube channel.

    Chopra also reckoned that Pant’s innings was like football where the duration is split into two halves and highlighted the way he has destroyed spin attacks around the world, including Keshav Maharaj in South Africa. Meanwhile, India ended the opening day at 357 for 6 wickets with Ravindra Jadeja (45) and Ravi Ashwin (10) at the crease.

    “We generally say that football is played in two halves, and cricket goes in one manner, but that was not the case. His first fifty came off 70-odd balls, and he covered the path from 50 to 90 in faster than run-a-ball. The sixes he hit, you saw his destructive side. It also reminds us that a bowler is as good as the respect you give him. He had made Keshav Maharaj look ordinary, and here also, he said that he won’t give too much respect to the standard of spinners that were there. He didn’t allow them to bowl,” Chopra, who played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, said.


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