India has had a rich vein of history when it comes to strength in the batting department. The latest to grab the limelights is Rishabh Pant.
Pant first came to the fore in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. He announced himself after his explosive batting at the top grabbed the attention of the cricketing fraternity.
Well, it was just the beginning. He was picked to play for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL in the same year. Although he didn’t have a particularly great season yet he certainly made a name for himself at the big stage.
The left-hander then went on to climb the ladder of success from there on. Playing for Delhi, he scored a triple century in the Ranji Trophy and became the third youngest Indian to do so.
To add to the list, he scored the fastest century in the league off just 48 balls. The 10th edition of the IPL arrived and so did the golden time for Pant. The Delhi-lad impressed one and all with his terrific batting display throughout the season.
Pant was one of the very few bright spots for the Daredevils who had a rather dismal time in the tournament. But the biggest gain for them and indeed for India was the emergence of the wicketkeeper-batsman.
The youngster has been a regular presence in Indian squads ever since, and even featured in a few World Cup matches in 2019.
Comparing young Rishabh Pant with the legendary Adam Gilchrist is a bit unfair. Gilchrist is one of the most, if not the most decorated wicketkeeper-batsman, in the history of the sport.
He is widely considered a trendsetter, who showed that wicketkeepers should take their batting seriously. Gilchrist, in fact, bowed out of the match as one of the finest limited-overs batsmen of all time.
In ODIs, he scored 9,619 runs with the help of 16 tons including one in the final of the 2007 World Cup.
He also revolutionised the Test format as an attacking No 7 batsman and scored 5,556 runs at 47.89, with the highest score of 204 not out.
Pant is now drawing comparisons with the legendary Aussie. In a very short span of time, the youngster has made heads turn with his attacking game.
Just like Gilchrist, he also comes lower down the order in Tests and has already scored centuries overseas in England and Australia.
Adam Gilchrist is, without an iota of doubt, one of the best wicketkeepers to have ever graced the game of cricket. But, Rishabh Pant seems to have a lot in common with the Australian maestro.
The fact that both are left-handers, top order batsmen and explosive in nature, induces the comparison between the two.
Although it’s too early to even think about Pant being on the same grounds as Gilchrist, the traces are surely there.
The Australian was a severe attacker and used to pose a fear in the minds of the bowlers. Pant has looked like the same.
Is he as good as Gilchrist? Only time will tell. But does he have the potential? There is absolutely no denying the fact there is an abundance of that.
But Gilchrist could have walked into any team as a pure batsman, but he was a brilliant keeper behind the wicket as well. A total number of 888 dismissals, second only to Mark Boucher, illustrated his class.
And keeping is one thing Pant would need to improve, so as to even be considered being called the ‘next Gilchrist’.
If Pant performs consistently well in the domestic cricket and whatever international exposure he gets, he could be the next regular wicketkeeper for India across all formats. But the task to fill in the shoes of Dhoni is no joke.
But Pant has age by his side. He is only starting his career and has ample amount of cricket left in him. But the grooming has to start now.
The team management should be patient with the youngster as too much chopping and changing leaves players devoid of confidence and unable to perform at a higher level.
If he carries on the good work for the years to come, he has the potential to become the next big thing in Indian cricket.
And if Rishabh Pant manages to replicate what Gilchrist accomplished in his illustrious career, there could be nothing better for Indian cricket.