The IPL has proven to be a wonderful platform for youngsters hoping to one day play for their country to make a mark. But at the same time, it is also a stage for players who have already played for the national team but are seeking a resurgence in form. Amid the current crop of Indian players, names of Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant come to mind who are heavily banking on a good IPL to get a shot at the Indian team with back to back T20 World Cups approaching.
Former West Indies captain Brian Lara recognises a special talent when he sees one, and among the current bunch of youngsters, the legendary West Indies batsman has seen Pant as someone who has made massive improvements in his batting. Calling Pant an asset, Lara feels the youngster has worked heavily on his game square off the wicket rather than depending entirely on the leg-side.
“I think he is a major asset for the Delhi Capitals, but today he has also vastly improved his game. I am talking about his batting and the improvements he made in that department. On what is immediately noticeable is his propensity to try and get everything to the leg-side,” Lara said on the Byju’s Cricket Live show on Star Sports.
“Also, look at his run scoring chart and that’s quite a proof of that fascination he has with the on-side. I think he has come to the realisation that this is not working and he went away and worked on improving his off-side play.”
Pant had a wonderful 2018 season of the IPL, scoring 684 runs at an average of 52.61 and strike-rate of 173. 60, including five fifties and one century. It earned Pant a place in the Test and ODI teams and later a spot at India’s 2019 World Cup squad. But post it, Pant has failed more times than he’s succeeded, a string of low scores resulting in his ouster from India’s limited-overs set-up.
Lara however, feels Pant has improved by leaps and bounds. The wicket-keeper batsman, who recently turned 22 recently, has gotten starts in all five matches played for the Capitals this season with scores of 31, 37*, 28, 38, 37, and Lara reckons it’s due to the major changes he’s brought in his batting.
“Look at the changes he made. Now, he has the ability to score runs in all parts of the ground. His scoring charts are looking impressive, and yes, more worry for the bowlers,” Lara said.
“He is now very well balanced and he is looking to score in key areas that he is not accustomed to scoring – over extra cover, over point, in front of point and his balance and his weight is staying there, he is not falling over to the off-side to create shots on the leg side. That is a vast improvement that he has made, which obviously going to help his all-round batting. I believe, this young lad has a long-long way to go.”