It was supposed to be a common ho-hum banter behind the stumps during the India-Australia cricket series in December. The third day of the Boxing Day Test match at the MCG had the Australian skipper and wicket-keeper Tim Paine take a dig at Rishabh Pant who was batting at the time by teasing him to join his Hobart Hurricanes franchise for the Big Bash League. “Fancy that Pantsy, surely extend your little Aussie holiday…can have you over for dinner, do you babysit? I can take wife to the movies and you can look after the kids…” Later, when Paine returned to bat, Pant who was now keeping wickets, returned the favour by indirectly referring to him as a “temporary captain”. All the cheeky sledging was caught by the stump mic.
The Aussie captain’s wife, Bonnie Paine, then posted a picture with Pant and kids Milla and Charlie on her Insta story. She too hilariously hastagged it as “#bestbabysitter”. This was at the dinner hosted by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for both the cricket teams at his official residence on the occasion of New Year’s Day. No sooner did she post it, the snap went viral, and Bonnie’s Insta too saw a spike in the number of followers which she attributed to Pant in one of her comments. Currently, her Instagram account boasts of 52.5 K followers.
For a change, the banter sure helped ease things up between the two teams. The incident and the aftermath successfully broke the Internet, and ICC too joined the social media buzz. “Tim Paine to @RishabPant777 at Boxing Day Test: “You babysit? I’ll take the wife to the movies one night, you’ll look after the kids?” *Challenge accepted!* (📸 Mrs Bonnie Paine)” it tweeted.
Not to be left behind, Cricket Australia too tweeted a video on their official Twitter handle: “Great stuff here from Tim Paine on the new family babysitter and the banter out in the middle! #AUSvIND”.
“Champion babysitter and champion cricketer. Rishabh Pant is the ICC Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2018!” is how ICC complimented Pant on his babysitting and batting skills. The insta post of a sketch of Pant with the Paine family was lapped up by millions and garnered over 382 K likes.
Impressed by Pant’s popularity, his Indian teammate Rohit Sharma, a newly-anointed dad, too offered him the job. Their Twitter exchange drew many laughs as the babysitter not only agreed to the offer but also teased co-player Yuzvendra Chahal.
Bharat Army dedicates a song Global Indian Cricket Supporters Group Est in 1999 as they describe themselves in their Twitter bio, Bharat Army composed an entire song on the now famous babysitter. They tweeted, “#AUSvIND Scenes of @RishabPant777 dancing to our song;
We’ve got Pant
We’ve got Pant
I just don’t think you’ll understand
He’ll hit you for a six
He’ll babysit your kids
We’ve got Rishab Pant”
Pant obliged them by doing a cutesy jig and swaddling his arms. Unwittingly though, he raised the bar for babysitters across the globe. Well, how often do you find a famous cricketing wonder who is fun with kids too?