MS Dhoni and R Pant
MS Dhoni and R Pant
File Picture

Mumbai: It has been Mahendra Singh Dhoni's lesson Rishabh Pant has nurtured all these years, and it will those pep talks which will be used by the student against the guru when Delhi Capitals' take on Chennai Super Kings in their IPL opener, at the Wankhede stadium here on April 10.

Pant cannot wait to start his captaincy stint with Delhi Capitals against mentor Dhoni, hoping to use learnings from the iconic former skipper to upstage him in the IPL clash on Saturday.

The 23-year-old highly rated wicketkeeper-batsman cannot wait to start his stint as a leader in that match.

"My first match as captain will be against Mahi (MS Dhoni) bhai. It will be a good experience for me as I have learned a lot from him. I have my own experience as a player as well.

"I'll apply my own experience and the learnings from MS Dhoni, and try to do something different against CSK," Pant was quoted as saying in a press release issued by Delhi Capitals.

The effervescent youngster has endured a roller-coaster ride in international cricket, gaining in prominence and respect in the past few months with his gutsy batting and drastically improved keeping.

He often draws comparisons with Dhoni but has maintained that he is aiming for a space of his own even though he does turn to the senior player for advice and mentorship.

Pant, who has scored 2,079 runs in 68 IPL matches, said he would be working hard to give DC its maiden IPL title.

"...I am looking forward to making most of this opportunity. We haven't won a title yet and I will try my level best to get a title this year. We've been playing nicely as a team from last two-three years and our preparations are going on well," he said.

"Everyone looks in great frame of mind. Everyone is giving their 100 percent and is happy in the team environment, and that's what you want as a Captain," he added.

When asked about the influence of head coach Ricky Ponting on the team, Pant said, "He (Ricky) has been so amazing for us in the last two-three years.

"He brings energy to the team and as a player when you see your coach and you're thinking this is the man from whom you can learn a lot, then nothing is better than that.

Having idolised Adam Gilchrist and Dhoni all his life, Pant also stressed on the importance of being original. "I feel proud that both of them have acknowledged my performances," he said. "It's important to learn from your idols, but you don't have to copy them. It is important to build your own identity."

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