Rishabh Pant’s flair and Cheteshwar Pujara’s doggedness came to India’s rescue after a top-order collapse against England on day three of the first Test on Sunday. Pant and Pujara knitted a crucial 119-run stand for the fifth wicket to somehow pull things back for the home side. Pant, who walked in at the fall of Rahane’s wicket, played in his inimitable style and took the attack to the English bowlers. After a cautious beginning, he went after Jack Leach and tonked four sixes and reached his half-century in 40 balls. He also smacked four boundaries.
Just nine away from his maiden century on home soil, the 23-year-old Pant once again played of reckless shot off Dom Bess bowling to throw away his wicket. Speaking after the day’s play in Chennai, Pujara doesn’t want Pant to curb his natural attacking instincts but would like the swashbuckler to be more “sensible” with his shot selection while putting the team’s requirements above everything else.
“It is his (Pant) natural game so we cannot restrict him much. He can’t be too defensive because by doing so he can get out quickly. It is good for his game that he keeps on playing his shots but, at times, he has to be very selective,” said Pujara.
“He needs to understand which shots to play, which not. He needs to understand in which situation it is important that he stays in the crease. Balancing things out is the most important for him,” said one of the calmest influences in the Indian dressing room.
Pujara believes that a talent like Pant will learn from his mistakes as he has the ability to rectify and play for the team’s cause.
“He will learn from his mistakes. There are times when he can be little more patient and build another partnership with whoever is there in the crease. He is capable of putting the team first because whenever he bats longer, then we will always end up posting a big total. So, I am sure he will realise that.”