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Rishabh Pant was one of the biggest contributors to India’s magnificent series victory over Australia.
Left-handed batsmen who keeps wicket, Rishabh Pant was the talk of the Indian cricket when he made his domestic debut in 2015. He was picked for the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup where he was the second-highest run-scorer for India. He scored two fifties, including a fastest fifty in 18 balls in an U-19 tournament, and a century to his run of 267 at an average of 44.
Despite being overshadowed by his fellow teammate Sarfraz Khan, who was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament with 355 runs and five fifties, many were impressed with Rishabh’s aggressive approach. He was picked by the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2016. He made an impact by scoring 69 runs from 40 balls to help Delhi to an eight-wicket victory over Gujarat Lions. Then against the same team, he scored 97 runs in 43 balls in 2017.
Debut in international cricket
Rishabh Pant was selected for the T20I series against the touring England side. When he made his debut, he was the youngest player for India to debut in a T20I match at the age of 19 years 120 days before Washington Sundar took over the record at the age of 18 years 80 days made his debut in 2017.
Then in 2018, Rishabh made his debut in Test cricket against England in 2018. He started off his Test career with a six, becoming the first Indian to do so. He even scored his maiden Test century in the final Test match, becoming India’s youngest wicket-keeper and first Indian wicket-keeper to score a century in England.
The young wicket-keeper made his ODI debut against the West Indies following month. Though he didn’t really had a great start towards his career.
He was picked as the replacement for Shikhar Dhawan in the 2019 World Cup. But his numbers were not impressive and India ended as the semi-finalists of the tournament.
Rise in Test Cricket
It was the Test cricket where Rishabh started to gain more recognition. After his magnificent 114 in England, he followed up with twin 92s against the West Indies in two Test matches. After his fine performance, he was selected for the Australia tour.
In the Australia series, he played seven innings. In the first six innings, he had scores between 25 and 39, seeming to be stuck in that phase. But in the final Test match, he scored his personal best, a brilliant 159* where the match was drawn. That century was also the first century scored by an Indian wicket-keeper. India won the series 2-1, becoming the first Asian team to do so.
There were praises for the wicket-keeper, both on-field and off-field. In off-field, he was sledged by his opposite number, Tim Paine, to babysit his kids. Rishabh responded well and he babysit Paine’s kids, earning numerous amounts of praises.
The Indian fans even made a song on Rishabh, singing on how a player can both hit a six and babysit the kids.
Pant was named as the ICC Emerging Player of the Year at the 2018 ICC Awards.
Following the triumph in Australia, Rishabh had a mediocre performances away in West Indies and New Zealand, with 27 being his top score.
He was picked for the Australia series again but did not played the first Test match as W. Saha was preferred over Rishabh in the first Test. However, after a very poor performance in the first game, Rishabh was brought back in the side. He played a vital role in the third and fourth test matches.
In the third Test, he scored 97 in second innings to help India draw the Sydney Test match and in the final game, he scored 89* to help India not just to win the match, but also winning the series again 2-1.
Unlike Test cricket, Rishabh Pant averages 26 in ODIs and 20 in T20Is. He is yet to make his mark. But his Test career number is remarkable. He scored 1,088 runs at a very good average of 43 with two centuries on difficult conditions. Pant may be the answer to India’s wicket-keeper batsman spot and he will be one star to look out for in the future.
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