Pant un­fazed by com­par­i­son with MSD, fo­cused on re­vival

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD - Shalini Gupta

Young Rishabh Pant is de­ter­mined to keep his fo­cus on help­ing strug­gling Delhi Dare­dev­ils in IPL 2017 and is un­fazed by com­par­isons with a young Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni.

The BCCI has shown faith in Pant by hand­ing him a cen­tral con­tract while for­mer India cap­tain Sourav Gan­guly re­cently named him in his fan­tasy IPL team, leav­ing out MS Dhoni. Pant though wants to stay fo­cused.

“I don’t think much about all the com­par­isons. My fo­cus has al­ways been play­ing cricket and do­ing well. I just need to grab the chances and prove my met­tle. IPL is a bril­liant plat­form.

We have seen peo­ple gain­ing at­ten­tion by play­ing in IPL,” said Pant, who was handed the Delhi cap­taincy for the Vi­jay Hazare Tro­phy tour­na­ment.

IPL 10 had started on a bright note for Pant, who braved the death of his fa­ther to score a valiant 57 against RCB Ban­ga­lore. How­ever, the runs haven’t re­ally flowed from the bat of Pant, who has earned com­par­isons with a younger MS Dhoni. While there was ini­tial talk of tak­ing him to the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, it’s clear Pant needs to get con­sis­tent.

OP­TION AS OPENER

Delhi Dare­dev­ils could push the hard-hit­ting Rishabh Pant to open with Sanju Sam­son in the match against Kings XI Pun­jab in Mo­hali on Sun­day.

Sam­son hit 60 in the last match for Delhi Dare­dev­ils against Kolkata Knight Rid­ers at the Eden Gar­dens, but Karun Nair, pro­moted to part­ner him, failed once again. How­ever, Pant said: “My role in the team is to score runs and give my best when on the field. It doesn’t mat­ter at which num­ber I am bat­ting. Right now, my team de­mands that I fin­ish the games bat­ting in the mid­dle or­der. The T20 for­mat is tricky, and you have to de­liver whether you play in the top or­der or mid­dle or­der.”

Pit­ted against the strug­gling Kings XI Pun­jab, floun­der­ing Delhi Dare­dev­ils will look to start afresh. And push­ing Pant up the or­der may just take the team in that di­rec­tion.

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