It is an open secret that Team India wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant idolizes former international player MS Dhoni. Pant, who was touted to be the successor of the legendary wicketkeeper, faced a lot of flak at the beginning of his career after taking over the role from Dhoni in many matches. However, this all never saw him keeping any sort of bitterness for the Captain Cool and it all rather helped him grew to be a better wicketkeeper than what he was at the start of his international career.
Since the retirement of Dhoni last year, Pant has understood his responsibilities in the national team quite well and is becoming better and better with each passing day. However, before Delhi Capitals' IPL 2021 game against Chennai Super Kings on Monday, the swashbuckling player revealed that Dhoni is a rival for him during the game.
After winning the toss at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Pant opted to bowl first against Dhoni-led CSK and said, "Always great learning from him (MS Dhoni), but right now he's a rival, so focus is on the game."
Explaining his decision to field first on the Dubai pitch, Pant said, “The wicket might do a bit early, so better bowling first. We just need to focus on the basics, continue doing what we have been doing, want to finish in the top two."
I want to be myself: Rishabh Pant
Two years back, Pant had revealed that he used to idolize former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist and Dhoni, however, he had added that he didn't copy them and rather wanted to be his own self.
“I do idolize Gilchrist and Mahi bhai (Dhoni),” Pant had said while speaking to Cricbuzz. “But that doesn’t mean I want to become that same person. It’s not about copying your idol. It’s more about learning things from them. I want to be myself. I want to be Rishabh Pant.”
The very next year, during Delhi Capitals' Instagram live, Pant had explained in detail that he used to follow only Gilchrist early but later he followed Dhoni too as the game evolved and Dhoni "brought innovations to the game".