Macha, I’ll go for the target: When Pant, Sundar both wanted to go big in Brisbane

Written by Abhishek Patil

Rishabh Pant on Monday revealed that there came a time in the Brisbane Test when during his partnership with Washington Sundar, both batsmen were in a dilemma as to who should go after the bowlers and who should play the anchor’s role in India’s record run chase on the final day.

India still had a fair distance to go in their 328-run chase when Pant and Sundar joined forces at 265 for 5. The duo then stitched a crucial 53-run stand off 55 balls to take the team to within touching distance with to their quickfire 6th-wicket partnership.

Recalling the conversation with Sundar, Pant said they both wanted to take on the bowlers before the off-spinner decided to take most of the risk while the wicketkeeper anchored the chase.

“When I was batting with Washi (Washington Sundar) we both were clear that we have to win the match. I was just playing my own game and kept going, kept getting messages from the dressing room as well.

“Pressure was there but Washi kept telling me, ‘Macha I’ll go for the target’. And I said the same to him. Then we decided that one has to anchor the innings while the other one can go for the shots.

“So he told me ‘I’ll go for the target while you anchor the innings’. Then he got some quick runs which helped a lot at that time. His quick-fire 20-odd was like gold for us. The idea was that me and Washi should finish the match,” Pant told Boria Majumdar on Sports Today.

Sundar got out for 22 off 29 but Pant made sure to stay at the crease till the end. He hit the winning runs, a boundary off Josh Hazlewood in the 97th over to finish the match, something which he was unable to do on the final day of the Sydney Test when India were chasing an even bigger target of 407.

“Lyon bagged Rahane’s wicket very early on the final day and I was the next man in. I was relaxed before I came out to bat because I like to keep myself positive while I’m in the dressing room before I bat. I keep myself busy because it’s hard for me to concentrate on the game all the time.

“I like to switch on and off when I’m in the middle because my coach, Tarak sir, always used to tell me ‘if you concentrate on your game all the time then you will get tensed’. So when I suddenly had to go out to bat, I did feel the pressure a bit because almost the whole day’s play was left and we needed a lot of runs to get.

“I didn’t think much about the chase, just played my normal game. There was a phase in between when we couldn’t score runs for 5-6 overs. I told Puji bhai (Cheteshwar Pujara) we need to rotate the strike a bit otherwise we’ll be under pressure. I told him either he should look to take on the bowlers or I. He was playing his natural game so I had to go after the bowlers.

“Lyon bowled a few deliveries in my slot, I thought about it in my mind and went for the big shots. That gave me the momentum, I started getting into my zone and put Lyon under pressure when I took him on. The fielders were pushed back which gave us more scoring opportunities.

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Abhishek Patil