A look at Rishabh Pant's incredible run in Test cricket
Wicket-keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant became the toast of the town after playing a match-winning knock in Brisbane. His unbeaten 89 helped India win a second Test series Down Under. In fact, the astonishing knock also handed the visitors their first-ever Test win at the Gabba. Pant's recent run is a result of trust placed on him by the management. We analyze his magnificent run.
Pant made his Test debut in 2018 against England at the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. He became the first-ever Indian batsman to get off the mark in Test cricket with a six. Although Pant couldn't do much, India managed to win the Test by 203 runs. Two Tests later, Pant slammed his maiden Test century (114) at The Oval, that was hailed widely.
Pant became the second-youngest wicket-keeper (20 years, 342 days) to score a Test hundred. He was also the first Indian wicket-keeper to hammer a ton on English soil. The previous-best score by an Indian wicket-keeper in England belonged to MS Dhoni (92). Pant's record-breaking innings certainly gave a testimony of his grit even as India failed to chase a mammoth 464.
Pant's masterclass in England compelled the experts to term him the "next big thing" in Indian cricket. He was then selected for the gruelling Australian tour a few months later. Just like the England tour, Pant fired an unbeaten 159 in his final Test innings after failing in the first three Tests. His blistering knock helped India win their maiden Test series in Australia.
Pant yet again scripted history as he became the first Indian wicket-keeper to slam a Test ton in Australia. In the opening Test, Pant took as many as 11 catches, the joint-most in a Test by a wicket-keeper along with Jack Russell (1995).
After the Australian tour, Pant couldn't register a single 50+ score in the succeeding tours of WI and NZ. His glove-work in the longest format was also questioned. In white-ball cricket, he was replaced by Rahul as a wicket-keeper due to an untimely injury. Even his runs tally in the IPL (2020) dried out, notwithstanding, the Delhi Capitals finished as runners-up.
Pant was left out for the Adelaide Test on India's 2020/21 tour Down Under. Not only Pant, the whole Indian team was down and out after getting bundled out for their lowest Test score. As a result, he was immediately roped in for Boxing Day Test, which India won. In Sydney, India managed to draw the Test with the help of his valiant 97.
A voracious Pant defied the odds on Day 5 of the Brisbane Test. Chasing 328, India were reeling at 167/3 when skipper Ajinkya Rahane departed. However, Pant's 138-ball 89* handed India a win to remember for ages. He will be riding his confidence in the upcoming home series against England. With shorter grounds and simpler tracks, he will be a force to reckon with.
As of now, Pant has smashed a total of 1,088 runs from 16 Tests at an impressive average of 43.52. He recently became the fastest Indian wicket-keeper to reach the 1,000-run mark (27 innings) in Test cricket, surpassing Dhoni's long-standing record (32).