Rishabh Pant continued his fine run in red-ball cricket with scores of 146 and 57 in the just-concluded fifth and final Test against England at Edgbaston. His splendid twin knocks in the longest format of the game came amid his struggles in ODIs and T20Is where his numbers are poor, to say the least.
While Rishabh Pant averages 32.50 in ODIs, his average drops to 23.15 in T20Is. Surprisingly, Rishabh Pant has only scored 715 runs in the 50-over format while in the T20Is he has 741 runs to his name and was yet to hit a ton in any form of white-ball cricket.
This is in stark contrast to Rishabh Pant’s performance in red-ball cricket, where he took his tally of runs to 2123 after having smashed his sixth Test hundred in the just-concluded match against England at Edgbaston. His average in the longest format of the sport has now risen to 43.32.
However, former England pacer Darren Gough has backed Rishabh Pant to come good in limited-overs cricket, especially in T20s.
Calling him a “serious talent”, Darren Gough declared that Rishabh Pant had all the shots in the book and hits the ball long and hard to the boundary line.
“He played so very well. There is no way Pant will not get runs in T20 cricket for India in the next 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years. He will dominate T20 cricket. He has got such a talent. And no boundary is big enough, he hits the ball so long,” Darren Gough told Cricket.com.
“You know, I wouldn't look too deep into it. I think he is a serious talent. How can you not enjoy watching him bat? Absolute delight against some high-quality bowling by the way. Just look at the England attack. You have got two guys there – Broad and Anderson – who have got 1200 wickets between them in Test, Ben Stokes who is the most under-rated Test bowler out there. Potts is learning his way but that seam attack is as good as it gets other than Australia,” the former England fast bowler mentioned.
On the other hand, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar reckons that if Rishabh Pant was tried as an opener in limited-overs cricket, things could change drastically.
Sunil Gavaskar even gave the example of Australian great Adam Gilchrist who used to bat in the middle order in Test cricket while opening in ODIs during his illustrious career for the Kangaroos.
Sunil Gavaskar said that he was sure about Rishabh Pant’s success at the top order and he deserved a chance up there. So far in his brief career, Rishabh Pant has only batted in the lower middle-order in both ODIs and T20Is as he has been assigned the role of a finisher by the team management.
“Not a bad option at all. Look at what Adam Gilchrist did for Australia in white-ball cricket. He used to bat at No.6 or 7 in Test cricket but while opening in white-ball cricket he was destructive. Maybe someone like Rishabh Pant can be equally destructive, he will get that many more overs to play,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Sports Today.
“We have been talking about him as a finisher but then he comes in there, starts slamming the ball and straightaway gets out. Here, he will have the awareness that he doesn’t have to go bang bang from the first ball. He will have a few deliveries to get used to the pace and movement. In England there will be a little more movement even with the white ball than anywhere else. That can actually work in India’s favor,” the legendary cricketer added.
Even former India opener Wasim Jaffer supported Sunil Gavaskar’s suggestion to make Rishabh Pant Rohit Sharma’s opening partner in white-ball cricket.
“Indian think tank should think about opening with Rishabh Pant in T20Is. I think that’s the spot where he can blossom,” Wasim Jaffer wrote on Twitter.
Rishabh Pant made history in the final Test against England in Birmingham.
While India failed to win their first series in England in 15 years as the hosts went on to claim a spectacular victory, thanks to unbeaten centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, Rishabh Pant’s performance stood out for the South Asian side.
En route to his knocks of 146 and 57 in the first and second innings, Rishabh Pant became just the second India wicketkeeper after Farokh Engineer to make a ton and half-century in the same Test.
During his fifty in the second innings, Rishabh Pant broke a 72-year-old record as well. With his scores of 146 and 57, he now holds the record for most runs scored by a visiting team wicketkeeper in a single Test match.
Previously, this record was held by West Indies great Clyde Walcott who had made 14 and 168* in a Test against England at Lord’s in 1950.