“Bhaiya, I want to be the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world”, Raina recalls Pant's words

Rishabh Pant played a key role in India’s 2-1 Test series win over Australia.

Rishabh Pant | GettyFormer India cricketer Suresh Raina on Saturday (January 23) recalled Rishabh Pant’s aspiring words when the both of them were training together in Ghaziabad last year.

Pant played an instrumental role in India’s recent 2-1 Test series win over Australia, scoring 259 runs at an impressive average of 51.80, including two half-centuries.

See Also: “He took the game on and played an amazing innings,” Smith lauds genius Pant’s Gabba knock

Speaking to Cricbuzz, Raina remembered Pant telling him that he wants to be the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world.

"Bhaiya, I want to be the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world," Pant had told Raina, who also clarified that he did not have much to do with the former’s progress.

"I really didn't have much to do with it. He is a young cricketer bursting with talent who in my view is set to become a great player for India. Back in June he'd just come off a not so good time with the bat.

"There was a lot of talk about him. So, he just wanted a break from it all, from the media and from everything. All he wanted me to do was listen. He wasn't looking for me to give anything, forget a solution," Raina added.

It was because of Pant that India pulled off a historic victory in the fourth Test at the Gabba. Chasing 328 in the fourth innings, the southpaw smashed 89 not out to take the visitors over the line.

"When we weren't at training, he would be home all day, playing with my kids, chatting with the wife. We watched a lot of comedies on Netflix, ate a lot of good food, whatever he felt like eating, and just chatted away,” Raina said.

"We would go for drives around the city, either in his yellow car or at times in mine. We would listen to the music that we both enjoy. It was all so positive and even during those drives, he would open up a lot, and all I did was let him talk.

"He did a lot of fitness work with me. With his batting, it wasn't technical at all. It was more about getting into the right mind-set and feeling good about his cricket and his enjoying his game," Raina further revealed.

Raina had also spent some quality time at Pant’s house last year.

"I spent a couple of days at Rishabh's place, ate there, and spoke a lot with his mother and it was great to see how she doesn't let any negative talk about her son get to her. She has all the confidence in the world on him that he'll become a big player. What he's been able to do is totally down to her sacrifice and the backing he gets at home from his family. She is very proud of him and she should be too," he remarked.

Rishabh Pant will now be seen in action in the home Test series against England, starting February 5.


By Salman Anjum - 23 Jan, 2021

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