Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq lavished praise on Rishabh Pant, saying the wicketkeeper-batsman was the difference between India and England in the recently-concluded One-Day International series between the two teams.
Pant hit a superb 78* off 62 in the third and final ODI in Pune on Sunday to help India beat England by seven runs and win the series 2-1. He had also hit a blazing fifty in the previous game, albeit in a lost cause.
The left-hander has been in sublime form since the past few months. He made a number of outstanding contributions during the historic tour to Australia, before continuing to make an impact against England at home.
“What a player he is. After a long time, I’ve seen such a player who plays so much better than you think he would,” said Inzamam in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
“I’ve been following him since the India tour of Australia. He doesn’t seem like playing under pressure. Even in Australia, when all the seniors were out with injuries, his effortless batting at the middle-order made it look as if India haven’t lost any wicket or they aren’t playing on Australian soil.
“Earlier, players used to struggle while playing Down Under but Pant is not bothered at all. Earlier in the 70’s era, Vivian Richards used to be the difference between West Indies and any other side. Similarly, Pant was the difference between India and England,” he added.
Inzamam was particularly impressed by Pant’s knock in the third ODI against England, in which the 23-year-old took the attack to the opposition and bailed his team out of a tricky position.
“It wasn’t an easy wicket to score against spinners as we all saw Virat Kohli getting bowled by Moeen Ali. But Pant once again played a fine knock and scored 74 runs (78*) in 62 balls, at a strike rate of more than 100. No other batter has a strike rate of more than 100,” Inzamam said.
“It was a smart move by Virat that he promoted Pant up the order. India lost three senior players – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, and the pressure was mounted on India. But Pant played an important role in releasing the pressure.”
Watch Inzamam-ul-Haq talk about Rishabh Pant here: