Give Rishabh Pant a “break” from constant comparisons and let him go from strength to strength, his senior India teammate Ravichandran Ashiwn suggested on Sunday.
Be it for his keeping or batting, be it with one of India’s greatest or any other player, Pant needs a break from all sorts of comparisons, expressed Ashiwn, who has been keeping the young stumper on his toes with deliveries that look like fetching their team wickets every now and then.
“He was constantly compared with the great M S Dhoni for a long time. Now he gets compared for his wicket-keeping with (Wriddhiman) Saha, this that and all that, sometimes it’s just better to give a break and let people build on confidence,” Ashwin said.
The seasoned off-spinner was speaking at the end of the second day’s play in the second Test between India and England, during which he collected his 29th five-for in Test cricket.
On his swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batsman, Ashwin continued, “With respect to Rishabh’s keeping, the name of the game is confidence right, he has been batting well, he has been working incredibly hard on his keeping as well…
“And sometimes, when you are constantly being compared to someone who has done well for years, it can be really hard, I really do feel for Rishabh, on a lot occasions, when I am watching games from home where he is playing the white-ball format.
“He has definitely got the ability, that is why he is here and I have no doubt he will go from strength to strength.”
After playing a key role in India’s incredible series win in Australia last month, Pant said the comparisons with Dhoni are flattering but added he wants to carve his own identity in the game.
Ashwin has now dismissed more left-handers than anyone else in Test cricket and though he admitted bowling to southpaws is an advantage for off-spinners, he said he has been working on a lot of aspects in recent years.
“I can’t really remember how it all started, to be honest. Obviously the ball turning away from the left-hander is one very big advantage when it comes to off-spinners and likewise left-arm orthodox spinners also enjoy bowling to right-hand batsmen.
“So for me, over the years, the left-hand batsmen have generally tended to receive a lot of bowling from round the stumps, so one thing that I have learnt better and started doing a lot more is varying the seam position…