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GUGOBET| The Still Feet And Knee-Flex Of Rishabh Pant!

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant

This was one of those knocks when an individual transcended the context of the scorecard.

The history of cricket is replete with talk of what batters do with their feet. Footwork. What about waist-work, though? What about knee-work?

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Rishabh Pant Plays Shots

Rishabh Pant often plays shots that make you mull over these kinds of questions, and he played one on Wednesday night too, against Venkatesh Iyer. It came off a ball that was full, pitching just outside leg stump, delivered at barely over medium pace. It was, quite frankly, a hit-me ball, but which other batter could have hit it in quite the way Pant did?

First, the footwork, or the lack thereof. Pant's feet did not move. At all.

Folded Himself At Waist And Knees

Then the other stuff, the way he folded himself at the waist and the knees to get low to the ground. Then the magic of hands and wrists. And then a seeming lack of interest in where the ball would end up, for Pant did not deign to follow the ball with his eyes.

He knew it was travelling. There was no need to check. You can imagine Osman Samiuddin, whose essay on the no-look six went up on this website two days before this game, watching this shot and wondering if he could have waited another week to send in his final draft.

Using Them Like Only He Can

This is what Pant does. Without moving his feet, but using his body in ways that coaching manuals haven't even paused to consider.

And if you watched it, you may have paid extra attention to what those knees were doing. Those Rishabh Pant knees, with all those reconstructed ligaments. This shot looked like evidence that he was using them like only he can.

Rishabh Pant Was Batting

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that this was all that mattered, to anyone watching this match at this moment, no matter what their allegiance. It didn't matter that this shot came at a time when Delhi Capitals had close to zero chance of overhauling a ludicrous Kolkata Knight Riders total. It didn't even matter that Pant was wearing a Capitals jersey and was playing an IPL game.

Rishabh Pant was batting, and that was enough.

Belting In Uniquely Dhoni Ways

This was one of those times when an individual transcends the context of the scorecard. Pant had been keeping wickets when MS Dhoni was that individual four days previously. It didn't matter then that Chennai Super Kings were mathematically out of the game.

It didn't matter that Capitals fed Dhoni a number of hit-me balls. It didn't matter, because Dhoni was batting, and he was belting those balls in uniquely Dhoni ways.

He Made 55 Off 25

The experience of watching Pant this season has been similar, but it's been surrounded by broader questions, and he had ticked off a series of boxes while going from 18 off 13 to 28 off 26 and 51 off 32.

On Wednesday, he made 55 off 25 and ticked another set of boxes. If he had been rusty at the start of the season, understandably so, he looked at his most fluent here. He flicked the first ball he faced, from Mitchell Starc, for the most effortless of sixes, and swiped Andre Russell for another leg-side six off his fourth ball at the crease.

Vintage Pant Knee-Flexing

He did that recognisably Pant thing of hitting sixes from uncomfortable positions, like when he hooked Russell beyond the square-leg boundary while entirely cramped for room, and he gave the opposition captain one hell of a headache with his ability to access the area behind square on the leg side, repeatedly, off all kinds of lines and lengths.

There was a period when he seemed to limp a little, but that discomfort didn't seem to have a noticeable effect on his batting or his running. And each time you saw him limp and wondered about his knees, he played a shot that involved some of that vintage Pant knee-flexing.

Watching all this made you think, inevitably, of World Cups and big Test-match tours. And perhaps he'll need to tick a few more boxes before we get to those questions. But here's the thing. If Rishabh Pant is doing Rishabh Pant things on a cricket field, it's going to be extremely difficult to keep him out of any team he's eligible to be part of, in any format.


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