Rishabh Pant: 'I thought about 400'

After being on the field for half an hour less than the entire match, Rishabh Pant said: "I am not feeling tired right now. I had always wanted to play a long innings, I did it but I could have done more. I had thought about 400."

Rishabh Pant ranji trophy

Rishabh Pant takes a selfie with the crowd after scoring a triple ton on day four.   -  Special Arrangement

Barring the half hour after his dismissal till Delhi was bowled out, Rishabh Pant was on the field all through the four days against Maharashtra. Still, the 19-year-old appeared to be as fresh as the first morning of the match.

“I am not feeling tired right now. I will obviously face the exhaustion but (it’s) not that I can’t do anything else,” Pant said. “They asked me if I could keep wickets for their second innings. I told them there is no problem. It was good. It was for the first time I was batting for long. I had always wanted to play a long innings, I did it but I could have done more. I had thought about 400."

He was obviously a mixed bag of emotions: thrilled for scoring a triple hundred in his fourth first-class game; disappointed that Delhi couldn't seize the first innings lead. Still, he was enjoying the frenzy of having emerged as the next big thing in Indian cricket. He revealed he has been practising autographs during the age of selfies.

Maharashtra's stand-in captain Swapnil Gugale, who scored an unbeaten 351 earlier in the game, had no hesitation in admitting Pant’s was a better innings. “It was an outstanding innings. They were chasing a huge target and he was the only one doing the bulk of scoring,” Gugale said. “I had a partner in Ankeet (Bawne) who scored 250-plus at the other end. In his case, he was the only one who scored big, with the next best being 70-odd.”

Pant on Saturday shared a 182-run partnership with Varun Sood for the seventh wicket. The he scored 145 of those is evidence of his dominance.

Pant admitted that for the first time at a higher level did he take his helmet off, after reaching the 200. “I had kept a target for myself that I will not remove the helmet till I get a 200 in Ranji Trophy. Even when I got 100 in the last two years, I never used to remove helmet. In Under-19 I used to keep a target for 200 and had told myself I will celebrate normally and not remove helmet,” he said.

Soon after he completed his triple, Virender Sehwag in his trademark tongue-in-cheek style, tweeted: “Rishabh Pant ne Pant utar di (Pant has taken off Maharashtra’s). 308, brilliant innings against Maharashtra.”

“We met during IPL. I told him [Sehwag] I wanted to bat with him, but he had moved to Haryana from Delhi by then so couldn’t. He said ‘koi nahi, meri tarah batting kar le (never mind, bat like me)’,” Pant said. Time will tell if Pant can be as consistent as the icon.

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