'Only Rishabh Pant stood by me when I failed in my debut series': Axed India batter's life-changing '18-minute call' | Crickit

'Only Rishabh Pant stood by me when I failed in my debut series': Axed India batter's life-changing '18-minute call'

Jun 23, 2024 09:13 PM IST

The batter opened up on how Rishabh Pant helped him revive his confidence after a disastrous Team India debut in 2021.

Securing a spot in Team India has become one of the most formidable challenges in modern-day cricket. With growing competition for spots, even star batters like Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, and KL Rahul missed out on a place in the T20 World Cup squad this year. Many in the past made scattered appearances for the side but are now far from contention for spots in any format; one of them is Nitish Rana, the former Delhi batter who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.

Rishabh Pant during IPL 2024(PTI)
Rishabh Pant during IPL 2024(PTI)

Rana received his maiden India call-up on the back of impressive IPL performances during the team's series against Sri Lanka in 2021. He played in both, ODIs and T20Is, but had forgettable outings in the three international matches in the series.

He had a combined score of 15 in two T20Is, and could only score seven in the sole fifty-over match he played against Sri Lanka. Justifiably, Rana was distraught with his performances and nearly three years later, in an interview with podcaster Ranveer Allahbadia on his YouTube channel BeerBiceps, the batter revealed his struggles with self-confidence following the series.

Rana also shared how it was Rishabh Pant, the player's teammate at Delhi during the time and seasoned international player, who pulled him out of his misery.

“I was selected for the tour of Sri Lanka. It was a pretty bad series for me. There was only one guy (Rishabh Pant) in the cricket circle who called me after that. We talked for 18 minutes. That phone call changed my life. When you reach where you wanted to reach, and then you fail, that feeling is different. No one wants to fail,” Rana revealed.

“I never expected that to happen. I told myself that it would've been better if I hadn't been selected at all. Rishabh told me, 'it was your dream to wear this jersey since you picked up the bat for the first time. And you did that. You know what you did, but from here, how you see your life is up to you. You can either fall down or work and get up again. I won't tell you that, nor I will speak about this again'.”

Rana on doubting himself

The KKR star revealed that he began to question whether he even deserved to represent India after the failure against Sri Lanka. Rishabh Pant, however, helped him revive his confidence.

“When you fail, you start to doubt your talent and calibre. It happens with me. I was doubting myself a lot. I started to feel, did I not deserve this at all? But Rishabh helped me clear my doubts. We don't talk about cricket, but whenever we do, it is about picking the other up. And that's called friendship,” said Rana.

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