Pant calls Dhoni mentor, says he encourages youngsters to look for answers

Topics Rishabh Pant | MS Dhoni | IPL 2020

If Mahi bhai is at the crease, you know things are sorted, says Pant. File photo: PTI
Calling M S Dhoni his mentor, wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant said that the World Cup-winning skipper has his own way of helping the younger crop as he never provides a full solution to a problem, encouraging them to look for answers.


Pant, was heir apparent to Dhoni until K L Rahul emerged as a wicket-keeper batsman in the limited overs format, making the southpaw no more a certainty in the playing eleven.


"He (Dhoni) has been like a mentor to me, on and off the field. I can approach him freely with any problem I may be facing, and he will never give me the entire solution for it," Pant said in an Instagram live session with his IPL team Delhi Capitals.


"This is so that I don't become entirely dependent on him, he gives me hints only that helps me solve the issue myself. He's also one of my favourite batting partners, though it's not something that happens too often.


"If Mahi bhai is at the crease, you know things are sorted. He's got a plan in his head, and all you need to do is follow it!"


Dhoni, who has not played competitive cricket since July, was supposed to make a much awaited comeback with the IPL, which has now been postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh thinks Dhoni has already played his last game for the country.


Ponting gives me full freedom at Delhi Capitals: Pant


Rishabh Pant's propensity to go for the jugular at the outset has often led to his downfall, but his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals' coach Ricky Ponting still allows him freedom to do "whatever" he wants to.


"He gives me a free hand. He says do whatever you want to do," Pant said during an Instagram chat with his franchise.


He also called the IPL 2018 season a "life-changing" one for him.


Pant had scored over 650 runs in 14 matches in that IPL at 52.61 and a strike rate of 158.41 with six half centuries.


"That was a life-changing season for me. I needed that breakthrough which everyone needs," he said.


"The core group always thinks of winning IPL for Delhi. We qualified for the knockouts last time and came third."


He also spoke about the challenges of playing Test cricket.


"I love playing Tests. You can give yourself time. Mostly you can test yourself in Test cricket. When I was playing four-day first-class games, I had heard it is the real test but when I played five-day cricket... it was like you need to put in that extra effort."


The 22-year-old was picked ahead of veteran stumper Wriddhiman Saha in the two Tests which India lost 0-2 in New Zealand.


Recalling his early days of struggle, the Roorkee-born Pant said he used to take a bus at 2 o'clock in the night to travel to Delhi for practice.


"They (Uttarakhand) did not have a cricket team at that point. So I used to take bus at 2 am in the night. That time it used to take six hours by road. It was difficult during winters as it was too cold. There was fog also. It's been a good journey (as I look back).


"At the end of the day, you have to work hard to achieve your goal," said Pant who has played 13 Tests, 16 ODIs and 28 T20Is so far.


Pant said that seniors such as MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan help him a lot along with former stars Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina.


Speaking about his idol Adam Gilchrist, Pant said: "Over a period of time I have realised that you have to learn from your idol but you don't have to copy him. You learn things which you like and can implement in life and cricket. You need to have your own identity.

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