Sometimes a rejection or non-selection does more good to you than success itself. Sure! Success gives us vindication about our talent, it also makes us realize that we belong to a certain level. But, as much as success is important in life, it is the process, which MS Dhoni talks about in almost every interview, that eventually decides our destination. People look at things differently. Some get buoyed by the instant found success and overlook whatever chinks they have in their armor while on the other end, they get bog down very easily when things don't pan out the way they would've liked.
Successful people always regard the process as the key tenet to their success. They don't get bothered from minor roadblocks; instead, they use those roadblocks to dig deep into the annals of their skillset and temperament and come out as an improved version of themselves. Cricket, as I always say, is a reflection of life. So, when Rishabh Pant was not selected from India's World Cup squad, the one thing that everyone was eager to see was how will Pant take snub? Will it destroy him or will it help him emerge as a better cricketer?
"It is a setback when you are not selected. I am used to it. But a professional should know how to deal with it. Things will not always be the way you want them to be. When things don't go your way, you need to find a way to keep yourself positive. The most important thing is to know how you can move on." Pant in an interview to TOI after his World Cup snub
Pant is a maverick. No one in Indian cricket has polarised opinions like Pant has in the past twelve months. And, there are good reasons for it. Pant's batting can evoke emotions that hinge on two sides of the extreme. On his day, he can pull, swat, reverse-flick and hit sixes with one hand leaving everyone gobsmacked by his precocious talent while on some he'll go for a non-existent shot and get holed out, drawing criticism from his detractors.
The match against Sunrisers Hyderabad was a clear example of this. With 38 runs to get in the last three overs, Kane Williamson made a tactical error by holding back Khaleel Ahmed in favor of Basil Thampi. And, Pant, in the words of his teammates gave it a smash: 4,6,4,6 of the first four balls to rip the heart put of SRH's chances of making to the Qualifier 02. But just as Pant is hailed for turning a game on its head, his inability to hold himself back and close out the matches brought some life back into the game as he holed out to Bhuveshwar Kumar in an attempt to seal the game with a glory shot.
"I'm not going to curb the way he plays, I'm not going to tell him to slow down because if he plays his best he will win games for us. I want him to go out with pure freedom and with no other thought other than hitting the ball for a six." Ricky Ponting on Pant's approach at the beginning of the season
But even with this flaw- of not attempting to calibrate his game according to the situation- Pant is a special talent who needs to be managed carefully. The more you see Pant, the more you are reminded of Virender Sehwag. The left-hander's hand-eye coordination bears close resemblance with that of Sehwag but given how Sehwag faded away after his eyesight started to desert him at the backend of his career, is a prudent example of why a cricketer must calibrate his game to the next level.
And, Pant knows it too. Often his flamboyance on the field or with the bat is often mistaken to be a casual approach and the left-hander takes all the criticism from his detractors as a fillip.
"I take any criticism positively. Finishing matches is important. I will learn to do it consistently. You only learn from yout experiences and mistakes. I am just 21. It's difficult to think like a 30-year-old man. In due course, my mind will be stronger and there will be a lot of maturity. You need to give it time." Pant on the criticism he gets in an interview to TOI.
With Kedar Jadhav injured, calls are getting louder by the minute for Pant's inclusion in the World Cup squad. Whether he makes it or not, but one thing is for certain, exciting times lie ahead as we see a precocious talent unravel and potentially develop into one of the torchbearers of Indian cricket in the future.