Over the years, IPL has been a medium of unearthing hidden talents. A number of names will pop up who have emerged from this T20 tournament like Shreyas Iyer, Sarfaraz Khan, Sanju Samson and more. Now it is time to add one more to that list, a swashbuckling left-handed batsman Rishabh Pant.
Prior to the match against the Gujarat Lions, Pant only faced 21 balls in two matches that he played in IPL 2016. The 18-year old was asked to open the batting alongside Quinton de Kock. It took him very little time to realise that he can or rather he should cash in on this opportunity, and he did.
De Kock was turned into a meagre spectator at the other end of the wicket and Pant marched swiftly towards his maiden IPL half-century. The Delhi Daredevils' latest recruit became the second youngest player to score a half-century in the IPL after Sanju Samson.
The way Pant batted against Gujarat Lions, it never looked like he is new to this format of the game. His innings of 69 runs from just 40 balls was indeed a treat to watch.
The youngster credited his success to the mentor of Delhi Daredevils and India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid.
"He (Dravid) has been telling me most of the things. There is a difference between U19 and senior-level cricket. He told me to learn as much as I can from Quiny (de Kock) and JP (Duminy). I am a youngster. They have played a lot of international cricket, so they will teach me, and as much as I can take from them, it will be good for me," the official website of IPL quoted Pant as saying.
Pant was one of the stars of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup, which was held in Bangladesh. His consistency was one of the keys to India's success in the tournament. While India U-19 failed in the final, they looked invincible during the rest of the tournament.
The 18-year old wicketkeeper-batsman scored the fastest fifty in the tournament's history. He also went on to score a century in the quarter-final of the U-19 World Cup against Namibia.
Surprisingly, Ishan Kishan, the captain of the India U-19 had a price tag of Rs 10 lakh and he was bought for Rs 35 lakh. Whereas Pant had the same base price but he was bought by Delhi Dardevils for a whopping Rs 1.9 crore.
He is proving his mettle to the management and the captain. It is still early to heap praises on this youngster as he has a long way to go. But surely, if he is nurtured in the correct fashion, he can become a knight in shining armour.