This Indian team only plays to win: Rishabh Pant
Every player, from No. 1 to 11, only thinks about how he can win the match for India: Rishabh Pant. (AFP Image)

Rishabh Pant is the perfect example representing the current breed of Indian cricketers fit and feerless. Pant, 21, is only nine Tests old but his performances with bot bat and behind the stumps have improved rapidly. In fact, it took him just three Tests to slam his maiden century in Test cricket, and even though his effort could not save the match for India, it showcased Pant s ability to grasp learnings quickly.

To provide a short summary of that innings, India were chasing a herculean target of 464 to win the final Test at the Oval, and Pant and KL Rahul had scored centuries to ignite hopes of a miraculous escape, but after putting on 204 runs for the sixth wicket, both batsmen were dismissed in quick succession and India went on to lose the Test by 118 runs.

Remembering that knock, Pant revealed that despite India getting reduced to 2/3, the team had the belief to pull off a victory. (READ: Pant recalls his famous second-ball six)

“Right now in this Indian team, we only play to win. Whatever the match, whatever the situation, every player, from No. 1 to 11, only thinks about how he can win the match for India. That is the most important thing for us. That we have to win it for India,” Pant told ESPNcricinfo.

“During that hundred in England [at The Oval], we were too far behind. You had to be careful to pick what balls you hit. In England, if you give yourself some time, you can score runs. So I was very selective at the start of the innings. Once I got used to the conditions, the runs came. He (Virat Kohli) said it is not compulsory that you attain experience after 100 Tests. Even in your second Test, you can do what nobody has ever done.

“In the final session we were just thinking about how we can chase the total down. When I and Rahul bhai [KL Rahul] were batting, we were positive. The game plan was to play normal cricket, but then he got out, and then I got out.”

Since that innings, Pant has shown a tremendous spike in his batting. His twin 90s against the West Indies was followed by another century against Australia in the fourth Test in Sydney. In fact, after Cheteshwar Pujara, Pant was the second-leading run scorer in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which India won 2-1. But the road to redemption wasn t easy. He was criticised for not putting a prize on his wicket, but despite all the chatter, Pant continued to back his instincts and technique.

“Formats make all the difference. If you are playing days cricket and get out trying to hit a six, everybody knows and says it is irresponsible. But when it comes off, nobody says anything. The percentage is what matters,” Pant said. “If you are getting out in ten matches but are getting the results in nine of them, that is important. If my percentage of results is high, I only focus on my process. And if something is working for me, it might not work for someone else. Similarly, if something is working for someone else, it might not always help me.

“I just focus on my processes. I don’t see whether I am doing well or badly. Because results obviously matter, but at the end of the day, your processes are important. Whatever processes have brought me here, I need to focus on that. On my work ethic, on how much time I devote to wicketkeeping process, what I need to do before matches.”