Former England batsman Ian Bell has warned his national side that if India manage to start well on the final day of the India vs England first Test in Chennai then Australia tour hero Rishabh Pant can really hurt England.
At the end of fourth day's play, India were 39 for one at stumps at the MA Chidambaram Stadium after England set them a target of 420 runs to win. India, who lost the wicket of Rohit Sharma early, need a further 381 runs while visitors England need nine wickets.
While the odds are heavily tilted in England's favour, Pant's recent heroics Down Under, where he propelled India to a thrilling win at the GABBA on the final day of the series with a 89-run knock, has the 38-year-old British retired cricketer worried.
"One thing that worries me from England point of view is that if India get a foundation, and he can come in on the back of good run score, he could be dangerous. That is what worries me in this series. If India got a good foundation, Pant could really hurt England in the back of an innings," Bell said on ESPNCricinfo.
Pant has now scored 91, 89* and 91 in his last three innings and has been able to take on pacers and spinner alike irrespective of the conditions he is playing and that had Bell excited.
"As a neutral, Rishabh Pant is amazing to watch. That was just Test cricket. We saw Cheteshwar Pujara doing his own thing in his own way, and Rishabh Pant doing it in his way, which was great. Jack Leach would be sitting there not knowing what to do now when Pant comes in and whether we see Leach bowl to him a lot, I am not so sure in this series," said Bell, who played 118 Tests for England.
"I think it is so important for a young player to understand how you are going to go and to have a clear mind. Pant showed an aggressive mindset, clear in his game plan, how he was going to take him down. It was not just reckless hitting, backing himself, picking the right bowlers. Yes, clearing boundary fielders but then rotating the strike along the way," he added.