You know, sometimes life is like a cricket match. There are highs, lows, surprising twists, and turns that you never saw coming. One of those unpredictable, thrilling twists is none other than Rishabh Pant. When it comes to cricket, almost every match is etched with unpredictability. But Pant's game of cricket, my dear friends, is akin to a suspense thriller, it's an absolute roller-coaster!
The discourse around Rishabh's career, is rather intriguing. He can hit massive sixes and has the tenacity to lead India to a win under intense pressure. But on the other hand, he has often been criticised for throwing away his wicket carelessly and facing the wrath of the fans. It's this paradigm of extremes which relegates Pant to being the most unluckiest cricketer in recent times.
When Rishabh Pant is playing, my kids, Aditya & Radhika, and I have a ritual. We gather around our TV and cheer for every shot he plays. It's a feast for our eyes. Yet, more often than not, we end up with disappointment as he ends up losing his wicket prematurely. It's a bit like when our Bengal cat, Tansen, sees a mouse but somehow never succeeds in catching it. Knowing Tansen's potential to catch it, we can’t help but sometimes agree that he’s just unlucky. This somehow is akin to Pant's career in cricket.
It all started with Pant’s early cricketing years which oozed promise. His raw talent and fearless approach were like a breath of fresh air, promising things that even seasoned players couldn't. Rishabh walked into the cricketing scene like a peacock strutting into a garden - creating ripples, making heads turn, and leaving everyone amazed.
I still remember the gloomy afternoon when I first saw Pant playing in the U-19 World Cup. Despite the match and the crowd, my attention was captivated by this young lad who was just smashing the ball everywhere. There was a certain zeal in his eyes – a burning desire to succeed. Even on the patio of our home in Sydney, his aura could be felt.
Into international cricket, and the saga of Pant’s roller-coaster career begins. Even stupendous innings in challenging overseas tours couldn't save him from the brunt of being called unlucky. Let's think about his dismissal to Pat Cummins at Adelaide, or that ballistic start he got in the T20 World Cup against Bangladesh, only to be dismissed by a reckless shot.
In 2017, in a T20 match against Bangalore, Rishabh played a scintillating knock of 57 off 36 deliveries only to lose his wicket at a crucial juncture, swinging the match away from Delhi. Instances like these throughout his career contribute significantly to his image of being the unluckiest chap on the cricketing field.
Consistency is as precious as a jewel in sports. And frankly, this is where Pant struggles. Despite showcasing flashes of some serious talent, he struggles to deliver consistently. It surfaces like a Fata Morgana, fading away even before we can admire it. Isn't it what makes us feel he's unlucky?
I often tell this to Aditya and Radhika - Hard work is essential but with no consistency, it becomes a wasted effort. It's similar to Pant's path. His undeniable talent is marred by a striking lack of consistency, making him the dark horse that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Yet, despite these hiccups, Pant’s confidence is something that amazes me every time. Throughout his ups and downs, he always steps onto the field with a beaming smile and a confident aura. And then, crunch, smack, boom! Before we know it, he's belted five boundaries, and we're all cheering, forgetting the disappointment of the previous match. This melting pot of unpredictability, inconsistency, hard luck, and unmatched confidence in his craft renders him the most unluckiest cricketer.
If life is a cricket match, then remember, it has its own super-overs too. The beauty of it all is that you never know what will happen next - just like Rishabh Pant's innings. But I strongly believe, Rishabh's game is preparing for the big innings of his life, the much-awaited super-over that will change the course of his cricketing journey.
I tell my children about life’s big innings too. There will be struggles, hurdles and you might end up being 'unlucky' more often than not. But the key lies in not giving up. Rishabh Pant, for me, is a living example of this lesson. Each day he steps onto that field with same passion, same verve, same unrelinquishable spirit, irrespective of past failures. Is he the most unluckiest player? Maybe, but I think he's also one of the most courageous ones.