IPL: ‘I Am Obsessed With Rishabh Pant’ – Sourav Ganguly Heaps Praise on Delhi Capitals Captain
I am obsessed with Rishabh Pant, he is an absolute match-winner: Sourav Ganguly©BCCI-IPL

Currently, the toast of the nation for his big-hitting exploits and match-winning contributions for Team India – India’s young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will once again hog the limelight during the upcoming Indian Premier League edition, scheduled to start on April 9. Sidelined after an average show during the 2019 Cricket World Cup, Pant made some telling contributions during the 2020-21 season. He scored a brilliant 97 in the Sydney Test which was followed by a match-winning 91 in the Gabba Test that helped India register historic Test series win in Down Under.

The 23-year-old Pant was handed over the reins of IPL franchise – Delhi Capitals as regular captain Shreyas Iyer suffered an injury during the ODI series against England. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly says he is ‘obsessed’ with Rishabh Pant’s game and calls the swashbuckling India wicketkeeper-batsman ‘an absolute match winner’.

The former India captain added that he loves watching the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma bat. “There are some fantastic players and I think as President of the Board I should not say who is my favourite player. All are favourite to me but I enjoy Kohli, I enjoy Rohit Sharma,” Ganguly said during an interactive session organized by online tutorial app, Class plus.

“I am obsessed with Rishabh Pant because I think he is just an absolute match-winner. Jasprit Bumrah is good, Mohammed Shami is good, I like Shardul Thakur a lot because he has got the courage and guts. “There is immense cricketing talent in India. When (Sunil) Gavaskar was there people used to think about what will happen after him, then came to (Sachin) Tendulkar, (Rahul) Dravid, Anil Kumble. When Tendulkar, Dravid left, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant took over,” he said.

“There is so much talent for cricket in India that I think it will produce world-beaters in every generation.” Ganguly, who was picked for India’s tour of Australia in 1992 but didn’t get a single game, recalled how that experience Down Under and the hard work that followed in the subsequent years made him a better cricketer. “I consider my 1992 series as a failure. To be honest, I didn’t get many opportunities to play, and I came back from Australia’s tour, but I was young. That (series) actually helped me to become a better cricketer.

“I came back stronger mentally. I was not fitter, I understood what international cricket was all about. I started to train myself over the period of 3-4 years not just physically but mentally also on how to handle the pressure,” he recalled. “My series in Australia in 1992 actually helped me become a better cricketer. When I went to England in 1996, I was much stronger. I knew what it takes to score runs at the international level.

“I had another four years of domestic cricket under my belt where I kept scoring runs. Those four years I think was a blessing in disguise for me. Failures make you better cricketer.” Ganguly, who underwent two rounds of angioplasty at a Kolkata hospital in January after complaining of chest pain, said he is hale and hearty now. “I am absolutely fit and fine and back to work, doing everything as I did before.