Bengaluru, Oct 17: Young Rishabh Pant, who struck a record triple hundred in Ranji Trophy yesterday (October 16), wanted to bat with Virender Sehwag but he could not, but received advice and praise from the former Indian opener.
The 19-year-old Pant became the fourth youngest in first-class cricket history (Javed Miandad, Wasim Jaffer and Abhinav Mukund are the other three) to score a triple ton. He is also only the second wicketkeeper to score 300 plus runs in a Ranji Trophy innings (the other being Srikar Bharat of Andhra).
His 308 off 326 balls with 42 fours and 9 sixes could not get his team - Delhi the first innings lead against Maharashtra at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium but Pant won high praise from former cricketers and fans. Pant was playing in only his 4th first-class match and made a big impact.
The left-handed had to keep wickets for nearly two days as Maharashtra piled on 635/2 declared after Swapnil Gugale (351 not out) and Ankit Bawne's (258 not out) record 594-run partnership.
Pant, batting at number five, took Delhi closer to the first innings lead but they were bowled out for 590.
In an interview with the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) website, Pant revealed that his wish wash to bat with Sehwag but that did not happen as the batsman moved to Haryana from Delhi.
"I came to know only when you all (journalists) told me about it. Since the match was going on I didn't know. To be congratulated by Viru bhayyia and Akash bhayyia (Akash Chopra) like this feels good at a personal level. I will work harder to earn wishes like this," Pant told the BCCI's website when reminded about Sehwag praising his knock.
Pant, who was part of the India Under-19 World Cup team, coached by Rahul Dravid, this year, revealed that Sehwag had advised to bat like him.
"I wanted to bat with Viru Bhaiya (Sehwag), but that never happened. He was my favourite player.
"Unfortunately he left to Haryana when I made my first-class debut last season. When we met during IPL, I told him I wanted to bat with him, he said koi nahi, meri tarah batting karle (doesn't matter, now you bat like me)," Pant said.
"I have kept that in mind. I hadn't thought that I have to bat like him but I like his style. I try to play my way," he added.
At this year's U-19 World Cup, Pant had blasted a record 18-ball 50 against Nepal. He was picked by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 1.9 crore at the Players' Auction for the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was one of the surprises in the auction after attracting such a big amount from a base price of Rs 10 lakh.