SYDNEY: Australia pacer Pat Cummins has hailed wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, stating that he is as a class player, who knows his game really well.
The pacer also said that the Australian side would have their plans ready for Pant when India and Australia lock horns again. Pant had played a match-winning knock of 89 runs to help the visitors breach the Gabba Fortress in January and this helped India win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Pant had also played a knock of 97 runs in the Sydney Test, but once he got dismissed, India decided to shut shop and as a result, the third Test ended as a draw. The wicketkeeper-batsman has been in a rich vein of form as he recently scored 91 runs in the first innings of the first Test against England, however, India went on to lose that Test by 227 runs.
“It is kind of a flip of the coin, because while Pujara was there, the game was not moving too quickly, but you know once Rishabh walks in, it is going to start moving quickly either way. It is one of those exciting times, I find, where you hope it works in your favour, but if it does not, it is going to be a bit of fun for the next hour or so, either way. He is a class player, he takes the game on and to the outside, it might look like it is quite slapdash, but he knows his game really well, he knows when to attack and what his scoring areas are, so before the next series, we will need to spend a bit of time on that,” Cummins told ESPNcricinfo’s ‘The Cricket Monthly’.
India had lost the first Test against Australia in Adelaide by eight wickets and after that skipper, Virat Kohli also returned home after being granted paternity leave. However, the visitors turned their fortunes around under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane and they went on to win matches at Melbourne and Brisbane, while the Test at Sydney ended in a draw.
Cummins was involved in a key battle against Cheteshwar Pujara throughout the series and the pacer hailed the batsman “brick wall.”
“My initial thought was that he was the brick wall, so once we opened up his end, I thought that still made all three results in the game possible, winning, losing, or a draw. But it was satisfying too: before the series, once we knew Virat Kohli was going to miss the last three Tests, Pujara was the big wicket for me. He was the deciding factor in the series a couple of years earlier – he was their rock in the middle order – and I felt a big part of the series battle would be played out against him,” said Cummins.
Cummins dismissed Pujara five times in eight innings while the Indian batsman scored 271 runs in the four-match series. The Australian speedster, on the other hand, was named as the Player of the Series as he took 21 wickets.
“After the first two games, in some ways, I thought he might have had to adapt to try to take the game on a little bit more and put pressure back on the bowlers. But if anything, he went the other way. He went, “No, I know my game so well, I am going to just bat and bat and scoring will take care of itself” – whether it is down the other end or later in his innings,” said Cummins.
“Maybe we set some tighter fields than we did a couple of years ago, but I felt like a lot of the time he was there just to face out the tough spells, bat and bat and bat, and in some ways selflessly take some overs out of the bowlers and the ball, with the hope that the lower middle order can cash in even if he doesn’t,” he added.