From Roorkee To Team India Rookie – Rishabh Pant’s Awe-Inspiring Journey

When a certain lad from Roorkee, known for his aggressive batting style, made his T20I debut for India in February 2017, the expectation was for him to make it big in the shortest format of the game. Two years on, the same youngster has notched up Test centuries in England and Australia. ‘Defying the odds’ is something Rishabh Pant thrives on, and that phrase perfectly describes his short cricketing journey so far.

Lack of opportunities in his hometown, Haridwar, forced Rishabh to move to Delhi at the age of 12 with his mother, Saroj. Unable to afford accommodation, they lived in a Gurudwara where his mother used to serve food while her son practiced at one of Delhi’s best cricket clubs - The Sonnet Club. Under the watchful guidance of coach Tarak Sinha, Pant smashed three centuries in the U-12 tournament and earned a scholarship at The Air Force School in Delhi.

Breaking records at the U-14 and U-16 levels, Rishabh caught the eye of the India selectors and was an integral part of the India U-19 World Cup squad in 2006. It was there that Pant first came into limelight, when he smashed an 18-ball half-century against Nepal to hold the record for the fastest fifty in U-19 cricket.

Soon after, the youngster made his first-class debut for Delhi in 2016 and scored over a thousand runs in his first Ranji season - including a triple century against Maharashtra. He also broke the record for the fastest century scored in the Ranji Trophy after his 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand in the same season.

Rishabh’s stellar displays in domestic cricket earned him an IPL contract with us in 2017 at an astonishing INR 1.9 crore. However, a tragedy was to follow just two days before his first match for us. Pant’s father, Rajendra, suffered an untimely heart attack and passed away in his sleep. But right after his father’s funeral, young Rishabh decided to travel to play. Not just that, he scored a gritty 50 in the match against RCB, earning praises from his peers and coaches alike.

Pant smashed 97 runs off just 48 deliveries against Gujarat Lions that year to successfully chase down a target of 209, forcing everyone in the cricketing fraternity to sit up and take notice.

His best season, though, was yet to come. In IPL 2018 Rishabh scored 684 runs at an average of 52.61 and a strike rate of 173.60, finishing as the campaign’s second highest run-scorer. His devastating 128* off 63 balls, which included 15 fours and 7 sixes, at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium against Sunrisers Hyderabad is a knock that will be remembered for a long, long time by IPL followers.

In September 2018 Pant became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a Test century in England, his maiden ton in the format. Following that up with a massive 159* in the 4th Test against Australia earlier this year, Rishabh has cemented his spot in the Test squad. Overcoming whatever life throws at him with a smile on his face, Rishabh Pant has proved to be a special talent with undeniable potential and has been touted as the future wicket-keeping star of Indian cricket. His next challenge will be to make his presence felt in the upcoming IPL, with an aim to give something back to the city of Delhi to which he owes so much.

From Roorkee To Team India Rookie – Rishabh Pant’s Awe-Inspiring Journey

When a certain lad from Roorkee, known for his aggressive batting style, made his T20I debut for India in February 2017, the expectation was for him to make it big in the shortest format of the game. Two years on, the same youngster has notched up Test centuries in England and Australia. ‘Defying the odds’ is something Rishabh Pant thrives on, and that phrase perfectly describes his short cricketing journey so far.

Lack of opportunities in his hometown, Haridwar, forced Rishabh to move to Delhi at the age of 12 with his mother, Saroj. Unable to afford accommodation, they lived in a Gurudwara where his mother used to serve food while her son practiced at one of Delhi’s best cricket clubs - The Sonnet Club. Under the watchful guidance of coach Tarak Sinha, Pant smashed three centuries in the U-12 tournament and earned a scholarship at The Air Force School in Delhi.

Breaking records at the U-14 and U-16 levels, Rishabh caught the eye of the India selectors and was an integral part of the India U-19 World Cup squad in 2006. It was there that Pant first came into limelight, when he smashed an 18-ball half-century against Nepal to hold the record for the fastest fifty in U-19 cricket.

Soon after, the youngster made his first-class debut for Delhi in 2016 and scored over a thousand runs in his first Ranji season - including a triple century against Maharashtra. He also broke the record for the fastest century scored in the Ranji Trophy after his 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand in the same season.

Rishabh’s stellar displays in domestic cricket earned him an IPL contract with us in 2017 at an astonishing INR 1.9 crore. However, a tragedy was to follow just two days before his first match for us. Pant’s father, Rajendra, suffered an untimely heart attack and passed away in his sleep. But right after his father’s funeral, young Rishabh decided to travel to play. Not just that, he scored a gritty 50 in the match against RCB, earning praises from his peers and coaches alike.

Pant smashed 97 runs off just 48 deliveries against Gujarat Lions that year to successfully chase down a target of 209, forcing everyone in the cricketing fraternity to sit up and take notice.

His best season, though, was yet to come. In IPL 2018 Rishabh scored 684 runs at an average of 52.61 and a strike rate of 173.60, finishing as the campaign’s second highest run-scorer. His devastating 128* off 63 balls, which included 15 fours and 7 sixes, at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium against Sunrisers Hyderabad is a knock that will be remembered for a long, long time by IPL followers.

In September 2018 Pant became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a Test century in England, his maiden ton in the format. Following that up with a massive 159* in the 4th Test against Australia earlier this year, Rishabh has cemented his spot in the Test squad. Overcoming whatever life throws at him with a smile on his face, Rishabh Pant has proved to be a special talent with undeniable potential and has been touted as the future wicket-keeping star of Indian cricket. His next challenge will be to make his presence felt in the upcoming IPL, with an aim to give something back to the city of Delhi to which he owes so much.

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