Post the retirement of MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant is succeeding him in limited-overs internationals and has also displaced W Saha as the Test skipper. But Pant faces competition from the new keeper-batsman star in Ishan Kishan, who has cracked a fifty on both his ODI and T20I debut. Sanju Samson, another competitor, is way behind due to his inconsistencies.
So, when India choose the first XI in limited-overs, Pant would have Kishan breathing down his neck. A miss or two from Pant would see Kishan taking his place. So, who is a better T20 keeper-batsman between Pant and Kishan? Cricwizz takes a look.
Batting: Pant vs Kishan in T20s
Kishan has shown an appetite for a top-order position as he could then dictate terms with his aggressive batting and maintain the tempo of the game. In the 5 ODIs and T20Is Kishan has played, he has played at the top and done well. So, India may well need him to continue playing his aggressive brand of cricket in limited-overs internationals.
For a top-order T20 batsman, attacking batting is a much-needed skill to not let the game drift away. And Kishan has shown great temperament to build an innings while attacking in the same vein for his IPL franchise Mumbai Indians. When Kishan gets going, it is almost impossible to stop him. However, he looks more like an on-side batsman and has to improve his off-side batting to take advantage of field placements.
In the same batting mould as Kishan, Pant has been mostly used as a middle-lower-order finisher both for India and his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals. He has played some blinder of an innings for Delhi and won games from lost positions. He is a special talent, and India is backing him ahead of World T20.
However, Pant is prone to inconsistencies and tempted to play rash shots that look ugly when it does not come off, and has to cope with a lot of blame for his poor dismissals in the past. Otherwise, if Pant works on building an innings rather than going into top gear from the word go, he could be more consistent, and keep Kishan away from taking his spot in the XI.
Keeping: Pant vs Kishan in T20s
He has a safe pair of hands behind the stumps. Although he does not keep much for Mumbai as Quinton de Kock does the keeping duties, his keeping is of top class and has no apparent weakness. So, Kishan can play both as a frontline batsman or double up as a keeper-batsman depending on the team’s requirements.
Not so long ago, Pant was heavily criticised for his poor keeping, and aping his predecessor Dhoni’s style for effecting those smart run-outs. And when Pant failed to pull it off, he was trolled tremendously. He also had technical flaws in keeping when he grabbed the balls ahead of the stumps and had once a stumping dismissal overturned for this technical error.
However, Pant has worked extremely hard on his keeping, and his Test success as a keeper has done his keeping a world of good, and he looks a far composed keeper now than in his earlier days. However, Pant is just one mistake away from being written off. So, Pant is walking on thin ice in this case.
Overall, the two are exciting talented keeper-batsmen in the same mould as former Australian keeper Adam Gilchrist, who rewrote the art of keeping-batting in international cricket. However, Kishan looks far more sorted keeper-batsman than Pant as the latter knows one mistake could see him warming the benches. But that could also spur Pant to give his all every time, and come out unscathed.
So, there is healthy competition for this keeper-batsman slot. India is lucky to have Kishan and Pant who can replace each other at any time.
Cover Credits: IPLT20