- 49-year old former left-handed middle-order batsman for India, Vinod Kambli penned down a few suggestions for Rishabh Pant that might help the Indian cricket team in the tour of South Africa
- Kambli had set the record to be the first cricketer to score a century in an ODI
- Pant was informed to expect only short of good length deliveries alongside exploiting fuller length balls which might come in as a surprise
- Kambli advised Pant and Rahane to try and keep the bat down while ducking a short ball
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, prior to setting out on his maiden tour of South Africa, picked up some practical and useful lessons from the former Indian cricketer Vinod Kambli at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s BKC centre last Friday.
A left-handed batsman similar to Pant, Kambli featured and made his mark in 17 Tests and 104 ODIs from 1993 to 1995. Having participated in an inter-provincial cricket for Boland in 2003, he acquired a fair understanding of the conditions in South Africa. Kambli guided Pant, the up and coming superstar.
Kambli revealed that he had a conversation with Pant on the phone and told him that his batting was admirable however there were a few things that were evident and needed attention. He shared a few pointers with Pant explaining to him about the conditions of South Africa having played domestic cricket in the region.
Kambli’s son Christiano also accompanied him to meet Rishabh at the BKC facility wherein they interacted for a good 45 minutes. Kambli told Pant to look out for 4 slips, 2 gullies and 1 short leg. Amassing all the knowledge from his experiences of playing cricket in South Africa, Kambli informed Pant to expect only short to good length deliveries. However, Pant was also asked to exploit fuller length balls which would be a rare surprise. Pant would be required to assess the bounce swiftly and play accordingly as the wickets would be hard and bouncy.
After delivering an idea of the fields, and the kind of wickets that he might face there, Kambli went on to hand over some suggestions on how the 24-year old can battle those conditions. He guided him to attempt keeping the ball on the ground alongside pulling and hooking the ball since a fine leg would be kept by the South Africans who would deep square leg that shot for him. Acknowledging the fact that Rishabh loves to play the pull, Kambli counselled him to implement playing the pull shot along the ground when facing throwdowns.
Kambli lauded Gary Kirsten (Kirsten was also the one who coached Team India when they won the ICC World Cup in 2011) and Jacques Kallis who were players of the Western Province play the pull marvellously while simultaneously keeping the ball along the ground. Pant was advised to play the pull shot with full confidence and sheer intent in case he played it in the air.
49-year old Kambli communicated that to excel in the SA tour, one needs the cut and the pull shots to survive. Kambli was the first player in the history of cricket to hit a century in a One-day international on his birthday.
An additional tip that Kambli gave to Pant and middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane was to keep the bat down in the event of ducking a short ball. This was something that he (Kambli) had learnt when he dealt with the short balls in SA. Pant’s willingness to learn and absorb advice from Kambli appealed to him. Kambli found the man to be respectful and very down-to-earth.