Indian cricket team bowling coach Paras Mhambrey heaped praise on wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant after his brilliant unbeaten 100 brought India back into the game in the ongoing third and final series-deciding Test against South Africa at Newlands, Cape Town.
On Day 3, Team India was in a precarious situation, losing four wickets for just 58 runs, but it was Pant who held his nerves and took charge of the side to help the tourists post a respectable total of 198 in the second innings on the board against South Africa in Cape Town.
The left-hander played an unbeaten knock of 100 off 139 balls, as India was bundled out for 198 in the second innings, setting South Africa a target of 212 in the series-deciding third Test at Newlands.
Mhambrey said during a virtual press conference: “It was a fabulous innings; it got us back into the match. From a personal perspective, there was pressure on him, getting runs at a crucial stage for the team, that's important. He has set the game nicely for us. Really happy with the way he played, he showed a lot of character out there because it is not an easy wicket to bat on.”
He further added, “At that stage, you wanted a partnership, Virat was there at the other end, there was a need for a partnership. We batted very well, we wanted to stitch a partnership, once Virat got out, Rishabh had to take the leading role. He batted really sensibly and he gave us an opportunity to win the Test from here.”
Meanwhile, India was visibly irked after a controversial Decision Review System (DRS) call which handed a lifeline to South Africa skipper Dean Elgar before he eventually got caught out by Rishabh Pant off Jasprit Bumrah for 30.
However, South Africa gained full control as their score read 101/2, with the hosts needing 111 runs to win the match against India.
Mhambrey said on the DRS call: “We saw it, you saw it. I will leave it to the match referee to have a look at it. I have nothing more to say; we have seen it all, we want to just move on with the game now. Every individual is trying his best, sometimes at the moments like this, people do say some things, it is a game. It would be fair that we move on, let's not take this further.”
The bowling coach further said on Virat Kohli's leadership style: “He is quite lively, that is how he likes to play his cricket. His energy rubs off onto the others and that is what you want from your captain.”
He signed off by saying, “It is an experienced group. It is not about what kind of bowling or batting unit you have, after looking at the wicket, decisions are taken accordingly. You have to be prepared to bowl first or defend a small target. It is not about the fifth day, it is about the first day, you take a decision, and then you back that decision.”
(With ANI Inputs)