If Shreyas Iyer hadn’t slipped his shoulder, Rahul would have kept the gates and Pant would have dug his heels into the dugout and waited for his next chance in the 50-over format.
But the powers summoned and brought them together for just under 13 overs and they talked by skinning the cat in their own way.
They showed that diametrically opposed striking styles can be breathtakingly beautiful.
It was an amalgamation of Rahul’s classic style with Pant’s unorthodox daring as they brought together in blow-to-blow in their own unique way.
Come and remember, Rahul as India’s goalkeeper with the white balls began to be set in stone ahead of the series against Australia Down Under until Pant had those two memorable “fifth days” in Sydney and Brisbane that turned the tide.
He was now back in the mix and even if Rahul switched off the “outside noise” and admitted on the eve of this game that at this level of competition, taking your place for granted is a no-go zone.
For Pant, it was about the perception that preceded him in the white ball format, but what we are seeing now is a better version waiting for the best.
The “carefree rishabh” has now become the “more responsible and fearless rishabh”.
With this in mind, the duo got together and didn’t even try to change their natural games, which is often the case in competition.
Rahul played the way he knows best, and Rishabh still only knows one way to play.
When Rahul danced down the track to beat Adil Rashid for an even six, Pant got on one knee and muscled the same bowler to the Cow Corner stands.
If Rahul were to show his full bat face with a pronounced return stroke, Pant with his incredibly powerful wrists would whip Ben Stokes over a square leg and even despise him for a long time.
While Rahul would shift his balance to drag Reece Topley to the limit, Pant would ride Sam Curran Senior’s full throw to lead him over the third man for a six.
Rahul was heavily and quickly criticized for four failures at the T20 internationals, and his “Shut the Noise” celebration was a haunting display of his state of mind.
Pant has walked this path for far too long to know how insane it can get. He had been in his “bubble” long before the bio-bubble was fashionable.
On Friday (March 26th) one thing was crystal clear.
It is true that Team India has many options, but the 2 Rs can coexist in the XI without one going up against the other.
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