'Lesser player would have wilted under pressure': Pant's childhood coach explains how he tackled MS Dhoni comparisons
"Rohan Gavaskar was not a bad player but he was always reminded that he is nowhere near his iconic father. Same thing happened with Pant," Rishabh Pant's childhood coach said.
Ever since bursting onto the scene, India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been often compared with former India captain MS Dhoni. Pant was seen as the ideal replacement for Dhoni when the 2011 ODI World Cup-winning India captain finally decides to hang up the boots.
While Pant had to improve his glovework to reach up to Dhoni's wicketkeeping levels, his naturally aggressive style of play helped him to climb up the ranks to be handpicked as the player to be groomed to take over the mantle once Dhoni announces retirement.
Unfortunately, the comparisons chased Pant longer than he anticipated and affected his form. In 2019 and 2020, Pant saw himself being in and out of the team because of his inconsistent performances. But ever since the Australia tour, the left-hander has gained confidence with his bat, has worked on his fitness, and has also improved on his glovework behind the stumps.
Pant's stark improvement has led to critics discussing if he could be the next India captain. In a recent discussion with News 18's Cricket Next, Pant's childhood coach Tarak Sinha explained comparisons with MS Dhoni could have affected Pant's morale.
"Rohan Gavaskar was not a bad player but he was always reminded that he is nowhere near his iconic father. Same thing happened with Pant," he said.
"A lesser player would have wilted under pressure with such comparison (with Dhoni) but as I keep saying that Pant’s willpower is his extraordinary asset and he kept the focus on improving his game. Pant was told that he is a one dimensional stroke player and soon he added more strokes in his armory," he added.
Sinha further added that Pant has just arrived on to the scene and should be given time to adjust, much like how Dhoni was given time to find his footing.
"Undoubtedly, Pant is a game-changer and a great learner but why such obsession with Dhoni comparison all the time? You must acknowledge the fact that it also took a while for Dhoni to show the world what he was capable of. We need to be patient with Pant. His time will also come. It has just started," he signed off.