India v Australia Previews

Courtesy: Rishabh Pant at the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground in Nagpur

Rishabh Pant can’t recall the perfume he’s wearing. I put forth the peculiar enquiry simply because the fragrance is every bit as attractive as the man’s cricket. Hermes he eventually concedes, somewhat embarrassed.

Pant has, of course, been revelling in the sweet smell of success. A month ago, he was one of the catalysts for India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia — with 350 enormously important runs (more than Virat Kohli) and 20 dismissals behind the stumps.

All this from a 21 year old against a country that is probably the toughest touring destination on earth, and that too in a format where his trademark belligerence and callowness could have been impediments to sustained success.

But then springing a surprise is Pant’s thing.

Face to face with him, you realise how big he is — it’s the kind of astonishing burliness that television cameras fail to capture.

He has boulder-like shoulders and oak-tree arms. Pant may have been visibly overweight till a few years ago, but this is a strapping frame seemingly born out of a lifetime spent in the gym.

A glorious version of Matthew Hayden meeting Mike Tyson.