'I discuss everything with MSD': Rishabh Pant

Still recovering from a life-threatening car crash that changed his life forever in 2022, India star wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant opened up about his deep connection with former India World Cup-winning captain MS Dhoni and how comparison with the latter made it extremely difficult for him during the early stage of his career.

The 26-year-old swashbuckling wicketkeeper batter asserted that he shares a deep connection with Dhoni, which has become deeper over a period of time. During his early career, Pant was compared with the legendary Dhoni, which put him under tremendous pressure. But all the background noise made their friendship only stronger; Pant talked about it and more during an interview with Star Sports ‘Believe’ series.

“I always find it difficult to explain my relationship with MS. Dhoni. There are some with whom you can talk freely. I discuss everything with MSD. I have learned so much from him. I discuss things with him that I wouldn’t discuss with anybody else. That’s the kind of relationship with him,” said Pant.

Talking about his early career and how people expected a lot from him at that stage when he just broke into the international cricket arena, Pant accepted that he really felt a lot of pressure. It was certainly a massive task to fill MSD’s big shoes, and he did feel the weight of enoromous expectations on his shoulders.

“First of all, I didn’t understand why questions were raised. I had just made it to the team, and people were talking about being a replacement. Why were people raising such questions at a youngster? Why are you comparing? There shouldn’t be any comparison at all,” he said.

“Some have played five matches and the others have played 500. It’s been such a long journey, so many ups and downs, so the comparison is not fair. I used to really feel very bad. I used to go back to my room and cry at 20-21 years of age. Under stress, I couldn’t breathe. So much pressure, and I didn’t know what to do. I missed a stumping in Mohali, and the crowd started to chant ‘DhoniDhoni’,” Pant said.

While talking about his early days in the Indian Cricket Team, Pant said that the seniors of the team were very supportive and welcoming.

“In the start, I was very young, and there were a lot of senior players, a lot of them actually. Yuvraj Singh, MS. Dhoni were there, all seniors. It does take some time, but I didn’t get the feeling of them being super seniors. They were very welcoming and made me very comfortable. They make every new player very comfortable. This is the culture of the Indian team,” he said.

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