India A vs England: Hard-hitting Rishab Pant has got a point to prove

Jan 13, 2017, 15:43 IST | Ajit Bezbaruah

Young southpaw smashes 36-ball 59 while skipper Ajinkya Rahane scores crisp 91 as India A cruise to six-wicket win in second warm-up match against England at Brabourne Stadium

India A’s left-handed batsman Rishabh Pant in an aggressive mood vs England at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
India A's left-handed batsman Rishabh Pant in an aggressive mood vs England at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

After the U-19 World Cup where India finished runners-up to West Indies, this must have been Rishabh Pant's first match where he played in front of such a big crowd. The young southpaw grabbed the opportunity with both hands by smashing a 36-ball 59 as India A cruised to a six-wicket win in the second warm-up match against England at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane signalled his return to form and fitness with a 83-ball 91.

Set to score 283 for a win, Rahane & Co achieved the target with more than 10 overs to spare in the 50-over contest.

Rahane en route his 91 against  England yesterday.
Rahane en route his 91 against  England yesterday.

All that noise
Pant had a first-hand account of the noise and pressure that fame brings along. His fame reached the venue even before he arrived to play. When India came out to bat, everybody was waiting for Pant to come in. He showed a glimpse of his batting prowess during nets on Wednesday.

When he walked out to bat after the fall of Sheldon Jackson's wicket, England must not have imagined what they were up against. Nervousness and teenage enthusiasm of a first-timer taking the stage was written all over the first few deliveries that he faced.

The first ball Pant faced, he jumped out to hit Moeen Ali out of the park and missed. In the next over, he slashed at a few outgoing deliveries from Chris Woakes but was lucky not to get an edge. Rahane at the other end was asking Pant to take things easy. A pat from Rahane on Pant's shoulder must have eased some of his nerves. A single off Woakes and an unconvincing sweep to the mid-wicket boundary off Moeen gave him some confidence, and that was not good news for England. In the next over, Pant hit a stinging straight drive off Woakes to the boundary. The sound of the willow and the speed at which the ball raced to the ropes made Woakes give stare at Pant.

Pant punishes Rashid
Leggie Adil Rashid replaced Woakes and the first delivery Pant faced — he made room, rocked back and cut it fiercely past the point fence for another boundary. Rashid had the last laugh and got him out caught at the long-on fence for 59 off 36 balls. His innings came to an end but he came across as a player who sights the ball early, his hand eye co-ordination good, the timing of his shots perfect and he is gifted with enormous power which he puts behind each and every shot he plays. He was only lacking in shot selection and that he can only learn with experience.

Brief scores
England 282 (J Bairstow 64, A Hales 51; P Rasool 3-38, P Sangwan 2-64, A Dinda 2-55, S Nadeem 2-41) lost to India A 283-4 (A Rahane 91, S Jackson 59, R Pant 59, S Raina 45; D Willey 1-32) by six wickets

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