Left-handed batsman Nitish Rana opens up about his Delhi teammate Rishabh Pant’s issues when he was regularly compared to former India captain and ‘keeper, MS Dhoni when the youngster burst onto the scene.
The left-handed keeper from Uttarakhand was often subject to heavy comparison with Dhoni, due to the glovemanship and their similar attacking batting style, and the criticism that followed in his initial years of IPL and international cricket.
Nitish Rana, who has recently received his maiden India call-up for the tour of Sri Lanka, reveals how Pant idolizes the Chennai Super Kings skipper and that he was bewildered with people finding a resemblance between the two.
“He admires Mahi bhai a lot, to the extent that he sometimes says: ‘If there’s someone I want to see while awake and sleeping it will be Mahi bhai.’ He has even said to me, ‘Why are people comparing me with Mahi bhai, I am not worthy of comparison,’ and while folding his hands, ‘Stop comparing me with Mahi bhai, take my bat and everything else. I don’t want to play, but don’t compare me with Mahi bhai.’ He is like a God to him,” Nitish Rana told IndiaTV Cricket on Wednesday.
His strength is his self-belief: Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana says Pant is high on self-belief, and that is his biggest strength, irrespective of the place or format he bats in. He further recalled India’s 2018/19 tour to Australia, where they registered their first-ever Test series triumph Down Under. Pant, only on his second overseas tour, was the second-highest run-scorer in the series, behind only Cheteshwar Pujara, as the southpaw struck 350 runs at 58.33 with a best of 159* in the Sydney Test.
“His strength is his self-belief. He never leaves that self-belief wherever he goes and whatever format he plays. I remember there was a time when people started criticizing him but he used to tell me: ‘I am just one big innings away, the day I play that, everyone will be silent and I believe I am going to play that innings very soon.’ The next match, he made a hundred something, it was during the last (2018-19) Australian tour,”
“Then he called me back and shared those memes and told me: ‘See, this is how people change. First, they used to say this and now see what they are saying.’ He’s very positive in his life and has immense self-belief and that’s his biggest strength,” the Kolkata Knight Riders batsman recalled.