Former India fielding coach R Sridhar shared how Rishabh Pant succeeded in Australia during the 2020-21 tour because he loves pace and bounce an also the challenge that comes with playing in such conditions. The 2020-21 tour of Australia saw Pant reach to superstardom as he played two beautiful knocks. His 97 in Sydney went a long way as India saved the Test match. He then struck an unbeaten 89 as India beat Australia at The Gabba by three wickets to clinch the series 2-1 as well.
Explaining the move, Sridhar told Cricket.com: “That decision came after a discussion among Ajinkya Rahane, Ravi Shastri and Vikram Rathour. We needed a left-hander to put the left-right combination in and we promoted him to No. 5. The wickets were nice and flat. It was the perfect stage and he went hammer and tongs. He showed glimpses in Melbourne when he scored 20-odd, but Sydney was something different. He showed that he is a man born to perform in Australia. He loves pace, bounce and the extra challenge that Australian pitches provide. It brought out the best in him.”
However, Rishabh Pant was named Player of the Match for his stunning innings in the final Test as India chased down 328 to beat Australia. While talking about his interactions with Pant, Sridhar admitted that it was limited as the coaches did not believe to talk about players’ personal space.
“We don’t interfere in his personal space a lot. As a coach, I only spoke to him when he had the time. But when we retired (Shastri, B Arun and Sridhar’s tenure ended last year), he sent a beautiful little Parker pen on the day of my retirement to my room. He said, ‘all the best sir’ and I still have the pen with me,” R Sridhar concluded.