Even before Rishabh Pant slammed the unbeaten 159 on Day 2 of the ongoing fourth Test in Sydney, the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman was making headlines in Australia with his non-stop quips from behind the wickets.
Pant, along with Australia captain Tim Paine, had become the broadcasters favourite so much so that whenever they were standing close to the wickets, the audio relay from the stump mic was preferred over the expert commentary.
After involving in numerous banters with Paine, which at times went overboard, Rishabh Pant won a lot of hearts when he posed with the Australia skipper's wife and kids during a party hosted by the Australian Prime Minister on the New Year's Day.
Tim Paine's wife, Bonnie took to Instagram to share the photo of Pant with her kids and captioned it: "Best babysitter". The post went viral as it came days after the Australia wicketkeeper sledged his Indian counterpart, asking him if he was available to babysit for him after the end of the ongoing four-Test series.
Pant reacts to viral photo
Reacting to the viral post, Rishabh Pant, who spoke to the media in Sydney after his well-paced knock of 159 on Friday, said: "Everyone's family were really nice. We met most of the people during the function at the prime minister's house. It was lovely meeting them. I don't think I have to change myself for something like that. The only thing is they put the photo on Instagram and it went viral."
Rishabh Pant was clicked with Tim Paine's kids ahead of the Sydney Test (@bon.paine Instagram Photo)
Tim Paine also spoke about the viral photograph ahead of the ongoing Sydney Test and called Pant a sport both on and off the field.
"We were at the PM's house.. just had a quick chat to Rishabh. My wife happened to be there so we just grabbed a quick photo. He was a good sport and he is on the field, to be honest," Paine said.
"A fair bit has been made of a little bit of banter between two wicket keepers which has been pretty light-hearted and pretty friendly. I enjoy the way he goes about it. I wish I played that way when I was his age. He looks like he has a hell of a lot of fun."
'Do you babysit?'
It all started in the Melbourne Test when Paine had a go at Pant, who was batting during India's second innings.
"Tell you what big MS is back in the one-day squad. Should get this bloke down to Hurricanes... They need a batter. Fancy that extend you Aussie holiday, beautiful town Hobart too... get him a waterfront apartment. Have him over for dinner," Paine was heard saying on the stump mic.
"Do you babysit? I can take my wife to the movies while you watch the kids."
'Keep chatting from behind the stumps to stay positive'
Meanwhile, Pant also said he keeps chirping at the opposition batsmen and egging India's bowlers from behind the stumps to keep himself motivated and focussed.
"This is a way to keep yourself busy and positive. When you're having a long day on the field, everyone gets tired. Each of us have a specific way to keep ourselves focussed and positive. This is my way of it doing it," Pant told the media earlier in the day.
Pant has now gone past Virat Kohli to become the second highest run scorer in the series, thanks to his well-paced century earlier in the day. With 350 runs he is only behind Cheteshwar Pujara, who slammed his third Test century of the series in Sydney.
Shedding light on the support he receives from his teammates, Pant said: "Everyone in the team has given me the freedom to express myself. That's the best part about my batting. Every time, when I go out to bat, I just enjoy myself."