The legacy of Mahindra Singh Dhoni has hung like a shadow over Rishabh Pant's career. He has been forever proving that he is the ideal player to take Dhoni's spot behind the stumps for the team. With this, he has been an understudy too. From dealing with IPL contracts to thinking about the game, Dhoni has been his go-to man over the last three years.
While Dhoni is nearing to the end as a professional player, Pant has evolved into a leadership role, a job that resembles to Dhoni.
Today's IPL tussle between table toppers Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings will be the tough test to Pant's leadership. Both have successfully led their franchise into the playoffs. However, it is now the time to seal the top-two slot.
A quick scan of Pant's demeanour behind the stumps would suggest he is about aping Dhoni the leader. The regular coded suggestions to his bowlers and sense to pre-empt are something that Dhoni had trademarked for himself. Capitals' trump card, pacer Anrich Nortje had offered an insight into Pant's game sense earlier in the second leg of this year's IPL.
"It's difficult to say just after one game. But all in all, he is good at understanding the game from what I have seen. He is a keeper as well and sees things differently," Nortje had said last week.
Speaking to TOI, former Indian wicket keeper Deep Dasgupta highlighted how good Pant was while defending a modest total against Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah. "Only thing that he needs to be careful about is that there is a difference between sixth sense and wishful thinking. He just needs to keep his emotions in control and he will be fine," TOI reported Dasgupta as saying.