Rishabh Pant started his Test career with a six, then went through a couple of matches without a significant score. However, he proved that he belonged to international cricket with a defiant century at the Oval in the final Test match against England.
He continued this form in the home series against the West Indies and looked very much like a Test cricketer, who can do wonders for the Indian team in the near future.
"That I could play red-ball cricket was important too. My childhood coach Tarak Sinha always maintained that he would not consider me an international player unless I played Test cricket. To do it (score a century) in England against such an attack was very important for me," Pant was as quoted by TOI.
'I improve in my own way'
Pant's free spirit and audacious stroke-making abilities in the IPL could have pigeonholed him into a white-ball specialist, but under the guidance of Rahul Dravid, the young man played few innings of substance for India A in England. This forced the selectors to pick him in the Test squad.
"If people tag me, it doesn't mean I have to change. I improve in my own way and always focus on that. There were no spots in the team earlier. The moment there was a vacancy, I ensured I was performing," Pant said.
He has replaced MS Dhoni in India's T20I setup and for a very long time, the southpaw was touted as the legendary cricketer's replacement. However, for the young man, these comparisons mean nothing to him and that he keeps all the hype behind him when he takes the field.
"I am not here to compete with anyone. For me, this phase is all about learning. I keep going up to Mahi bhai and pick up things," Pant said.
"Social media is a part of everyone's life. You can't ignore it. But I have learnt to keep off-field hype back in my room. And it doesn't matter if you have played 500 international matches, you are bound to be nervous when you take the field and I believe that's a good thing," he added.
So how does he guard against complacency? Pant says that the seniors in the side help him a lot to ward off all tags and perceptions.
"Virat bhaiya told me that playing 50 matches doesn't mean you are experienced. A person with three-four games can be equally experienced if he picks up from others' mistakes," he added.