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Rishabh Pant striving to maintain high benchmark in Delhi’s Ranji glory quest

Rishabh Pant, who had a phenomenal Ranji Trophy 2016-17 season, has had modest numbers in the current season but he is determined to ensure Delhi achieve glory in the tournament for the first time since 2007/08.

cricket Updated: Dec 15, 2017 16:41 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rishabh Pant,Delhi,Ranji Trophy 2016-17
Rishabh Pant hasn’t been at his stellar best this season but is still hopeful that Delhi will win the Ranji Trophy this season. (HT Photo)

Rishabh Pant’s performance in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season had created a buzz in Indian cricket. In eight games, Pant blasted 972 runs at an average of 81 with four centuries, including a triple ton.

He also scored the fastest Ranji Trophy century off just 48 balls against Jharkhand.

The benchmark he had set resulted in further gains. A good run for Delhi Daredevils in the 2017 Indian Premier League, followed by his India debut against West Indies heralded good times.

However, 2017-18 has been a challenge for Pant.

In this Ranji season, Pant has has scored 261 runs in five games at an average of 43. These are not bad numbers, but having already raised expectations, the season so far has been modest.

“Actually, an average of 43 is not bad. I am trying to catch up with the numbers that I had set in 2016-17. Once you raise the bar, you have to try and maintain it. It is part and parcel of the game,” Pant told Hindustan Times as he was about to leave for the semi-final between Delhi and Bengal in Pune.

Something unexpected

Delhi have reached the Ranji Trophy semi-final for the first time since 2010. Unlike previous teams, this side have overcome the curse of a last-moment upset. “In previous seasons, something has happened in the last couple of games which eliminated us. Some teams managed to secure outright wins which put us out of the reckoning,” Pant said.

In the 2016-17 season, Delhi lost to Saurashtra by four runs and missed out on a knock-out spot by one point. In 2015-16, Delhi were stunned by Assam and it cost them a chance in the last four.

Total contribution

Delhi’s good run has been due to both bowlers and batsmen. Gautam Gambhir and Dhruv Shorey are averaging in the high 50s while Nitish Rana, Himmat Singh and Kunal Chandela are in the high 60s and 70s respectively. The bowling has been led by left-arm orthodox bowler Vikas Sharma with 31 wickets, followed by Manan Sharma (23), Navdeep Saini (22) and skipper Ishant Sharma (20).

Pant believes this has played a big role in Delhi’s march. “Everyone is contributing to the team. Gambhir continues to be our pillar,” the Delhi youngster said.

Rishabh Pant’s Ranji 2017-18 statistics:

Matches - 5, Innings - 6 , Runs - 261, Average - 43.5, Fifties - 1, 100s – 0, Highest score - 99

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 09:39 IST