"I used to cry in my room": Rishabh Pant reveals how MS Dhoni fans made his life hard
Rishabh Pant made his India debut in 2017 as an understudy to MS Dhoni.
When Rishabh Pant began his international career for India in 2017, MS Dhoni was already past his prime. He was not a regular member in India’s side in T20I bilateral series regularly and when he did, Pant wore the gloves.
It was a tremendous chance for the youngster. He was being groomed as Dhoni’s successor. Rishabh Pant was aware of the situation. Dhoni knew it. The team administration was aware of this, but even if they were, the fans found it difficult to accept.
Every time Pant stumbled behind the stumps, there were chants of ‘Dhoni Dhoni.’ The aggressive left-hander, who has gone a long way since then and established himself as one of the team’s key players, admitted it affected him at the time.
Pant said there were times when he went to his room and cried because of the constant criticism and the comparisons with Dhoni.
“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 ‘Dhoni Dhoni’,” Pant said in a ‘Star Sports’ series.
Pant is currently working his way to full recovery after having a near-fatal car accident in December 2022.
Pant stated before it turned hurtful that he was genuinely perplexed by the comparisons to a true icon like Dhoni.
“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. 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,” he added.
I discuss everything with MSD: Rishabh Pant
Pant said at this point he feels emotionally overwhelmed while talking about his dynamics with the 2011 World Cup winning captain.
“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 (I have) with him,” Pant said.
Pant stated that he will always be grateful to veterans such as Yuvraj Singh for making him feel at ease when he initially arrived.
“At the start, I was very young, and there were a lot of senior players, a lot of them actually. Yuvraj Singh, MS 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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