Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar has heaped praises on Rishabh Pant, saying that the wicketkeeper batsman has the capability to change the course of a Test match much like the way Adam Gilchrist used to do it for Australia.
In reply to West Indies’ first innings total of 311, Team India were in a spot of bother at 162/4 on Day 2 of the second Test in Hyderabad. However, Pant rose to the occasion and played a swashbuckling knock of 85* to bail his team out of trouble. He shared an unbeaten 146-run stand with Ajinkya Rahane (75*) and his innings was studded with 10 fours and a couple of sixes.
"The way Pant batted it looked like he was celebrating something. He is such a fine player. We all know the type of shots he possesses but like you said, towards the end of day's play, there would have been a temptation to go for the big shots and go for the hundred but I think he recognises along with Rahane...very wise head at the other end that India needs a very big lead and not just individual honours. So, he is egging Pant to carry on and I'm very, very impressed with Pant's approach to the task,” Gavaskar told India Today.
"At no.6 if you have somebody coming in like that...it is almost like Adam Gilchrist. Gilchrist used to come in when Australia were in the doldrums with four wickets down and not too many runs on the board and he would hit a blazing hundred and take Australia to 350-400 and I think that is what Pant is capable of," he added.
Besides Shaw, Gavaskar was also in awe of the 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw, who played a mesmerizing knock of 70 to kick-start India’s reply. Shaw’s 53-ball knock was comprised of 11 boundaries and 1 six.
"Prithvi Shaw is the person to take Indian cricket forward in the next 5-10 years. Australia is certainly going to be slightly different, as he has this tendency to open the face of the bat when he plays on the back foot. On bouncier pitches he might be bit vulnerable in the gully, third man area,” Gavaskar asserted.
"Prithvi is someone who thinks centuries, you need such players who want centuries. He is a young man and with experience he will pace the innings and not be in a rush to reach a landmark. But the way he was playing of the back foot and even defending off the back foot, that is a very encouraging sight," he continued.
Gavaskar also shared his opinion on KL Rahul, who is looking clueless in the ongoing home Test series against West Indies. While the right-hander has scored a four-ball duck in India’s only innings at Rajkot, he fell for 4 off 25 balls on a placid batting track in Hyderabad.
"Of what we have seen of him in England and the two innings that we have seen, he is moving a little too much. His head is moving a little too much. Earlier on, there was back and across movement, which was taking him towards his off-stumo. So, when he put his front foot forward after that, he was playing at deliveries outside off stump,” Gavaskar pointed out.
“Now, he is doing the back movement but it is the head that is falling on the off-side, which is not making him realise, where his off stump is. Today he wasn't sure where his off stump was and he was in two minds and that happens because he is moving his head and he is falling a little bit to the offside," he concluded.