Nitish Rana, who recently received his maiden Team India call-up for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, has given an interesting insight into how Rishabh Pant has reacted to comparisons with MS Dhoni over the years.
The 27-year-old recalled that Pant once even made an emotional plea to take his bat and ‘everything else’ away if it would stop the chatter. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman talked about how Rishabh Pant considers MS Dhoni his ‘God’.
“He admires Mahi bhai a lot, to the extent that he sometimes says: ‘If there’s someone I want to see while awake and sleeping it will be Mahi bhai,'” Nitish Rana told India TV Cricket.
“He has even said to me, ‘Why are people comparing me with Mahi bhai, I am not worthy of comparison,’ and while folding his hands, ‘Stop comparing me with Mahi bhai, take my bat and everything else. I don’t want to play, but don’t compare me with Mahi bhai.’ He is like a God to him,” he added.
Pant has been often compared to Dhoni for various reasons. However, Rana asserted that Rishabh Pant’s self-belief is the quality that sets him apart. He recalled his conversations with Pant before and after his Sydney ton in Australia in 2019.
“His strength is his self-belief. He never leaves that self-belief wherever he goes and whatever format he plays. I remember there was a time when people started criticizing him,” he stated.
“But he used to tell me: ‘I am just one big innings away, the day I play that, everyone will be silent and I believe I am going to play that innings very soon.’ The next match, he made a hundred something, it was during the last (2018-19) Australian tour,” he added.
“Then he called me back and shared those memes and told me: ‘See, this is how people change. First, they used to say this and now see what they are saying.’ He’s very positive in his life and has immense self-belief and that’s his biggest strength,” Rana concluded.
While the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman will feature in the World Test Championship final and a 5-Test series against England, Rana will travel to Sri Lanka in July for his debut international tour.