great tribute

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Jan 2019 12:03:49

the India-Australia 4-Test series was dominated by the consistent batting of Cheteshwar Pujara and the Indian bowlers’ sterling performances, taking 20 wickets in each Test. Emerging as the top run scorer for his team, Pujara was solidity personified. It was his superlatively patient knocks during most of the tour that lent Indian team the much needed strength. While the openers disappointed much of the time, coming at number three, Pujara, each time, was required to reconstruct the innings and build a foundation for his team’s success. It was not for nothing that every Australian batsman thought that there was so much to learn from Pujara’s batting in Test cricket. Thus more than Captain Kohli, for a change, the focus of the Australian team and their bowlers was on Pujara. That is a great tribute to a solid player of Test cricket. But in the shorter version Pujara has not been able to make a mark. Hard working as he is, Pujara may be working to improve upon that also. 

But there was another Indian player who hogged the limelight, particularly in the fourth Test. That was wicket-keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. While Pujara played a sterling innings of 197 in India’s first innings, it was Rishabh Pant who carried forward his senior colleague’s magnificent work by knocking 159 runs in blistering style in company with another gutsy character in the Indian team, Ravindra Jadeja, and ensured that the Aussies would have no chance of reaching the mammoth target India had posted.

Pant has received rich tributes from the Australian great Ricky Ponting. Ponting sees in Pant another Adam Gilchrist, the great Australian wicket-keeper-batsman. Having seen Pant from close quarters during his stint as the coach with Delhi franchise in Indian Premier League (IPL), Ricky Ponting knows the potential Rishabh Pant has as a batsman as also the wicket-keeper. Ponting says Pant has good game sense and is a good striker of the ball. While Ponting is all praise for the young Pant, he also feels that the youngster has to do a bit of work behind the wickets. Similar opinion was expressed by the legendary Sunil Gavaskar on Pant’s wicket-keeping.

In fact Gavaskar was of the opinion that the Indian team management should draft the services of former wicket-keeping greats like Sayyed Kirmani, Kiran More to guide young Pant. While all of them are unanimous about Pant’s batting talent, they see the need for rectification in his wicket-keeping. Gavaskar feels for sheer batting talent Pant should remain part of the team. Pant must have got the message when he was dropped from forthcoming One-Day series to be replaced by MS Dhoni. For the World Cup that appears to be the arrangement.