Rishabh Pant used to have to work hard to earn a spot in the starting lineup since he was still developing and maturing, even though he is now an essential member of the Indian Test squad. Pant has always been a fantastic batter, as seen by the hundreds he scored on his first trips to England and Australia, but when he initially joined the game, his wicketkeeping required a lot of work. When Pant played abroad, he often dropped easy catches and grabs and had trouble keeping hold of players like R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja during domestic Test matches.

When Pant featured in his country’s first Test match in 2018 due to Wriddhiman Saha’s injury sustained during India’s tour to England, Pant was immediately chosen as the keeper. When the seasoned wicketkeeper returned, Bengal’s keeper would be tough to replace because of Pant’s precise keeping skills. R Sridhar, a former fielding coach for India, hurried to help Pant at this point, and although the choice ultimately paid off, the early going was by no means easy.

He was hesitant to accept some of the recommendations. mostly as a result of his faith in the ability of the game to carry him thus far. I must admit that at times, his insistence drove me crazy. However, feeling fearful or sad would not benefit anybody. I had to come up with a plan to get Rishabh to try new things if only to see if they may help him stay in school. Sridhar’s book has a chapter titled “Coaching Beyond.”

For the two-Test series against New Zealand in 2022, Pant served as Saha’s replacement, and Sridhar claims he used an unconventional conditioning program for Pant. “I decided that it was time for some tough love since simply he and I would spend the entire practice session together,” Sridhar said. When the ball slipped from his grasp or he struggled to arrange his collection, I stopped offering suggestions and comments and instead chose to ignore his bewildered expressions. Because of his intelligence, Rishabh was able to recognize that something was off.

A little while after, he approached me and remarked, “Sir, you’re not saying anything.” Please give me some advice. “Perhaps instead of using your hands to lead, use your mind,” I joked. He accomplished this, delighted that he had persuaded me to speak. The fact that the body followed the head’s guidance gave him greater confidence in his ability to catch the ball.

It was the start of Pant’s keeper prowess comeback. After the outbreak, Pant continued the practice he had begun at the beginning of the year, and as a result, he substantially improved as a wicketkeeper. During the 2020–21 series against Australia, even the great Ricky Ponting questioned Pant’s ability to keep wicket. However, Sridhar’s advice had a significant impact, and after months of hard work, Pant emerged as a polished product to become India’s first-choice wicketkeeper.