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IND vs ENG 2021: “We can’t be thinking too much about the toss” – Rishabh Pant

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Rishabh Pant has dismissed the talk surrounding India’s decision to bat ­after winning the toss in the ongoing third Test at Headingley. The Indian wicket-keeper acknowledged that the pitch was on the softer side in the morning but stated that the team had no regrets over their decision to bat first.

An inspired bowling effort from England, led by James Anderson, destroyed the Indian batting unit as they collapsed to 78 all out. In response, the hosts benefitted from confidence and a heavy roller to end the first day at 120 for no loss, with both openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed slamming fifties. Rishabh Pant told the press after Day One:

“I don’t think so (regrets on batting first). Whatever decision we take, we take it as a team. Once we decided that we are going to bat first, we will go on and back that decision. The wicket was on the softer side in the morning and they bowled at some good areas. We could have applied ourselves better and it’s part and parcel of the game. We learn from our mistakes and move on and improve ourselves in the next outing. We can’t be thinking too much about the toss.”

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Leading 1-0 in the Test series after winning the Lord’s Test, India have been pushed on the back foot on the first day of the Leeds Test. They will require something extraordinary to stage a comeback and impose themselves on the Test.

Everyone is thinking about what’s good for the team: Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant himself had an off day with the bat, scoring just two runs before falling to Ollie Robinson again. He was the fifth wicket to fall as India lost six wickets for 20 runs. In order to accommodate five bowlers, Rishabh Pant is batting at No. 6, a spot higher than where the wicketkeeper-batsman usually bats.

Dismissing the notion that consistent failure of the middle-order has put more pressure on him, Rishabh Pant clarified that he’s happy to bat at No. 6. According to Pant, the current Indian team has created a culture where everyone has adopted a team-first mindset.

Emphasizing how he views a top-order collapse as an opportunity to further prove himself, the 23-year-old said:

“As a cricketer, I don’t think that way [that I am under pressure due to early collapse]. Whatever situation you are in, you have to play according to that. As a cricketer, if I have to get in early because of a top-order collapse, I see it as an opportunity because if you are going to bail your team out from that crisis, you will do wonders in your life. End of the day, everyone is thinking what’s good for the team.”

Pant added:

“I am fine with batting at No. 6. As a cricketer, you either think about your team or your personal performance. The culture that we have created here is that everyone thinks about the team. Individual performances do matter but that’s not what we put focus on.”

The Indian middle-order looks in shambles. Only Ravindra Jadeja has scored over 100 runs from his four outings at an average of 25.75. Rishabh Pant is next on the list with 86 runs at 21.5. Middle-order mainstays Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane average 17.75, 17.25 and 21.25, respectively.


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