Pant’s mantra: If the ball is there to hit, I will hit it

India’s new batting sensation Rishabh Pant believes that if the first delivery of his innings needs to be hit for a six, he will go for it.

Rishabh Pant fell three short of his century against Gujarat Lions in New Delhi on Thursday.   -  Special Arrangement

India’s new batting sensation Rishabh Pant believes that if the first delivery of his innings needs to be hit for a six, he will go for it.

Pant hit a magnificent 97 off 43 balls with six boundaries and nine huge sixes as Delhi Daredevils chased down a mammoth target of 209 in 17.3 overs to beat Gujarat Lions by seven wickets in their IPL match here on Thursday.

Asked about his intent of hitting the very second ball bowled to him by Basil Thampi for a six, Pant’s answer was as uncomplicated as his batting. “If the ball is there to be hit, I will hit it. If a bad ball is bowled, you have to punish it. Rahul Dravid told me to play my normal game without thinking too much,” the 19-year-old said in a matter-of-fact manner.

Pant was well on-course to get his maiden IPL hundred but fell short by just three runs. However, the youngster said he was thinking about the target more than the three-figure mark.

“I was not thinking about those three runs. I was only thinking about chasing the target as quickly as possible. It’s like had I been there to chase down the target, I would have got those three runs. And if I would have got those three runs, I would have chased the target,” the teenager said.

He admitted that promotion in the batting order enabled him to plan his innings as he got to face more deliveries. “You can see that (that he could play freely). Earlier, I was batting lower down order and coming in probably in the 15th over. Now I have full time to settle down and play my shots. The pitch was also good with ball coming onto the bat,” said Pant.

He came into the IPL on the back of a tremendous domestic season, which included a triple hundred, but he said he does not like to compare those innings.

“I don’t rate any of my innings. I play this game for the love of it,” he replied when asked if this was his best knock at the senior level.

The Daredevils needs to win all their remaining four games in order to stay in the hunt for the IPL play-offs but Pant does not want to look too far ahead.

“We have decided to take one match at a time. We don’t want to look too far ahead,” he said.

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