Rishabh Pant’s brilliant 159* on day 2 of the Sydney Test put him in an elite list of wicketkeepers. He became the first Indian and Asian keeper to smash a century in Australia while he became only the third Asian keeper to hit a score of 150-plus in a Test outside the sub-continent. His 159 was his second century outside India, having made 114 in The Oval Test against England in September 2018. The exploits of the left-hander, combined with his solid wicketkeeping in the series, has earned him plenty of plaudits. Following his knock, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting hailed Pant’s knock and said he had the potential to become the ‘next Adam Gilchrist’.
“We talk about MS Dhoni all the time and his impact on Indian cricket. He played a lot of Tests for India but made only six Test hundreds. This kid will make a lot more Test hundreds than that. We talk about him in the commentary box and he is sort of like another Adam Glichrist,” Ponting told the official Cricket Australia website.
When it comes to wicketkeepers, Gilchrist is still considered the benchmark when it came to aggressive batting, big scores and solid wicketkeeping. The dynamic Australia left-hander, who hit the second fastest-century in Tests and was the first player to hit 100 sixes in the format, has been hailed as one of the best in the world. Dhoni, when he started out, said he had admired Gilchrist as a keeper. Ponting, though, said Pant had to work on his wicketkeeping slightly more.
“He has got to do a bit of work on his keeping and he will also become a better batsman. He (Rishabh Pant) is a real talent and an incredibly good ball striker. He has got a really good game sense as well. I have been lucky enough to coach him at Delhi (Capitals). He has already scored his second Test ton and a couple of 90s to go with it. Look he is someone who could play a lot of Test cricket for India across formats. Pant is only 21 and is already into his ninth Test,” Ponting said.
MS Dhoni scored only one century outside of India and it was in the subcontinent while Pant has already shattered history by scoring two overseas. In this series, he took a joint world record 11 catches in a match in Adelaide and has already broken the record for the most catches by a keeper in a bilateral Test series. His exploits, along with the performances of Cheteshwar Pujara and Jasprit Bumrah have helped India come closer to achieving a series win in Australia for the first time.