IND vs ENG: Tried to disturb bowlers mentally: Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant showed a remarkable performance on the first day of the rescheduled fifth Test against England. He came at the time when India's batting line-up was struggling and went on to make 146 runs. The wicketkeeper-batter said that the secret of his heroics was to "disturb the bowlers mentally".
"In English conditions, if a bowler pitches it up, it's important to disturb his rhythm, that's what I feel," the 24-year-old Pant said.
Be it England's spell from James Anderson or from skipper Ben Stokes, Pant looked at ease.
"I don't try to play unidimensional, rather I try out various shots, sometimes I step out, or play on the backfoot. I keep on using the crease well. It's about disturbing the bowler mentally and things happen. It's not pre-planned. I just focus on what the bowler is trying to do."
Pant said it's about showing respect to good deliveries and he has paid equal attention to the defensive aspect of his game.
"Yes, I've worked a lot on my defense. My coach, Tarak Sinha Sir had told me long back that you can attack any bowler but at the same time he has always stressed focusing on playing defensively.
"You can't be defensive or attacking with each ball. I try to focus on each ball and play according to its merit. It's a good sign to show respect to a good ball. I'm not focusing much on the defence rather I'm focused on my game.
"I might play some different shots sometimes but it's about giving your 100 per cent. If a ball is there to be hit, I go for it. I just try to back it over a period of time and that's actually helping me."
He shared a record 222-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja.
The duo eventually took the team past the 300-run mark with the sixth wicket stand.
"When you lose too many wickets early on, you have to give yourself more time. I just tried to stage a partnership with Jaddu Bhai and not lose a wicket before tea and it worked for us. (Coach) Rahul (Dravid) Bhai told me that I should play one ball at a time and not focus too much on other things.
"The discussion was about creating small, small partnerships, maybe in 25-30, that's how you convert it into a big one. Yes, there was pressure early on, but I just focused on the process. It's about what I want to do as a player and not what the opposition is thinking," he said.
England Playing XI: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Sam Billings, Matty Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson
India Playing XI: Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah
(Inputs from PTI)