Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh regards former India captain M.S. Dhoni as his mentor, whom he can approach freely with his problems.
“He (Dhoni) has been like a mentor to me, on and off the field. I can approach him freely with any problem I may be facing and he will never give me the entire solution for it,” said Pant during a candid chat on Delhi Capitals’ official Instagram handle on Friday.
“This is so that I don’t become entirely dependent on him, he gives me hints only that helps me solve the issue myself. He’s also one of my favourite batting partners, though it’s not something that happens too often.
“If Mahi bhai is at the crease, you know things are sorted. He’s got a plan in his head, and all you need to do is follow it!” he added.
Having idolised Adam Gilchrist and Dhoni all his life, Pant also stressed on the importance of being original. “I feel proud that both of them have acknowledged my performances,” he said. “It’s important to learn from your idols, but you don’t have to copy them. It is important to build your own identity.”
Pant, who hails from Roorkee in Uttarakhand, remembered his days of initial struggle.
“I had to travel to Delhi since there wasn’t much cricket in Uttarakhand, and the bus journey was around six hours long. In Delhi, I used to spend the nights in a Gurudwara in Motibagh with my mother,” he said.
“She would help out with the duties in the Gurudwara, and always believed I would get all the blessings for her services in a holy place. Those blessings definitely helped me in my cricketing journey,” he added.
The destructive batsman, who has 1,736 IPL runs from 54 matches to his name, also took the opportunity to compare the last two seasons of the tournament for him.
“2018 IPL was a breakthrough year for me, and I got a lot of individual success,” he said.
“But 2019 was more special as Delhi Capitals did so well as a team, and made it to the playoffs after a six year old gap. The team bonding last year was a big reason for our success.
“In a team sport, not everyone is going to have a good day during a match. But we learnt to enjoy and cherish each other’s success, instead of being jealous. In success and failure, we were all there for each other, and that showed in the eventual result – third,” he added.
Pant also had a message for Delhi Capitals fans. He said, “Thank you so much for supporting this team and showering so much love upon us even when we haven’t done well.”
“We owe you an IPL trophy no doubt, and we will do our best to get it for you,” he signed off.