Rishabh Pant entered an illustrious list on day 3 of the Adelaide Test between India and Australia. The 21-year-old Delhi wicketkeeper matched MS Dhoni’s record by taking six catches and helping India secure a vital 15-run lead. Pant was solid behind the wickets and he took the catches of Usman Khawaja (28), Peter Handscomb (34) and Tim Paine (5) on day 2. On day three, he was the common factor in all the dismissals when Mitchell Starc (15) edged Jasprit Bumrah. The Australian innings ended when Travis Head (72) edged Mohammed Shami and in the very next ball, Josh Hazlewood (0) edged the same bowler and Pant had created a record.
Pant is only the fourth Indian wicketkeeper to effect six dismissals in a Test match after Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha and Syed Kirmani. However, Kirmani had taken five catches and had effected a stumping during the Christchurch Test against New Zealand in 1976. Saha also achieved the same thing at North Sound, Antigua when he took five catches and a stumping against West Indies in 2016. Dhoni and Pant are the only Indian keepers to take six catches, with the former India cricket team captain achieving the feat in the 2009 Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
The world record for the most number of catches is seven which is held by four wicketkeepers. Wasim Bari of Pakistan took seven catches against New Zealand in Auckland in 1979, England's Bob Taylor achieved the feat against India in Mumbai in 1980, New Zealand's Ian Smith against Sri Lanka in Hamilton 1991 while West Indies' Ridley Jacobs was the last one to achieve the feat against Australia in Melbourne in 2000.
Before the start of the Australia tour, Virat Kohli had posted a selfie with Pant and praised the youngster on his Twitter handle and wrote, “Back to Australia. Looking forward to the next few weeks with this champion.”
The attacking left-hander was picked in the India squad for the Twenty20 Internationals against Australia after MS Dhoni was left out. Pant made his Test debut in 2018 against England in Nottingham and he immediately grabbed the attention of the cricketing world by getting off the mark with a six. Although his contributions were moderate, Pant ended the England tour on a high with a blazing 114 in the final innings of the Oval Test. At home, Pant smashed 92 in both the Rajkot and Hyderabad Tests against West Indies.
Pant’s feat in the Adelaide Test has ensured that Kohli is right in calling him champion.