Pant has silenced his critics endlessly: Coach Sinha

Kolkata, January 19

Rishabh Pant’s coach Tarak Sinha on Tuesday said his ward has silenced his critics forever by playing the innings of his life during India’s successful run chase to win the series-clinching fourth Test against Australia in Brisbane.

Pant, 89 not out off 138 balls, took on the fearsome Australian attack head on with an innings of utmost maturity to power India to a three-wicket win on a challenging fifth day track.

“He (Pant) has now silenced his critics forever with this innings. It’s about having full faith in a player after giving him a chance,” Sinha told PTI.

“I’m sure his wicket-keeping will improve. Once you are assured of your place in the team, and everyone says you are good, everything else starts falling in place. It’s about gaining confidence.”

Often criticised for poor shot selection and sloppy wicket-keeping, Pant went out of favour in both the limited over formats and was not included in the first Test in Adelaide before being included in the playing XI in the remaining three matches.

Sinha said Pant had a point to prove that he belongs to top-flight cricket.

“There was only one person to help him—only Pant himself. It’s his quality to stand up and take on the challenge. Credit only belongs to him.

“It’s very difficult to motivate yourself when there are criticisms all around you. Personally, it’s a great feeling. He not only did it for himself but made the country proud,” Sinha said.

Pant got out for 97 through a rush of blood on the fifth day of the drawn Sydney Test but on Tuesday, he stayed till the end to anchor India’s run chase at the Gabba.

The diminutive 23-year-old remained expressionless after the historic win and the coach said many things contributed to this.

“There were a lot of things behind his expression-less emotion. He was going through the lowest phase of his career having lost the place from all the three formats in 2020.

“First it was his favourite T20 format, then from the ODIs and his place was not guaranteed in the Tests. In such a situation, you are desperate to do well and cement your place.”    

Reflecting on Pant’s matured innings at the Gabba, Sinha said: “He was more calculated this time and was thoughtful in his innings. He started slowly, then accelerated his innings beautifully. He capitalised on the loose balls and took the match head-on.

“From my point of view, his presence was intimidating to the Aussies that he can win the match for India from any situation. He showed that exactly, at any point he could turn around the match.”              

Sinha said he spoke to Pant after the Sydney Test where he missed a century by just three runs.

“He was very disappointed. He told me that ‘I cannot leave a loose delivery’ but I told him sometimes to do well you have to leave out a loose delivery. Today I’m really happy that he stayed till the end.

“I just kept telling him that you belong to the Test-match level. Take every Test match like a new one. You have played just 16 Tests, out of which you missed three centuries otherwise you would have had five centuries. Maybe he gained confidence from all this.” — PTI

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