Rishabh Pant is the number one choice for the Indian cricket team for the post of wicketkeeper across formats on the current West Indies tour. Although the left-hander has struggled with the bat across formats, his keeping has been solid. During the Jamaica Test against West Indies, Pant created a new record and shattered MS Dhoni's record. When Kraigg Brathwaite pushed at a delivery from Ishant Sharma, Pant took his 50th catch and he became the quickest Indian keeper to reach the mark achieving it in 11 games. Dhoni had taken 15 matches to take 50 catches and the performance by Pant once again reimposed the faith shown by the selectors that he could be the future of the Indian cricket team after the retirement of Dhoni.
Pant is the only Indian wicketkeeper to hit a century in Australia and England. He is also the only Asian keeper to hit a ton Down Under. Pant’s 159* in Sydney is not only his highest individual score, but it is the joint-most by an Asian keeper outside the sub-continent, level with Mushfiqur Rahim who achieved this feat against New Zealand in Wellington in 2017.
Pant shattered a new world record for wicketkeepers when he took his 20th catch of the series between India and Australia during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. Pant broke the previous record of 19 which was set by Syed Kirmani and Naren Tamhane. Kirmani achieved the feat in the series against Pakistan in 1979 while Tamhane was the first to reach the mark in 1955 also against Pakistan. The remarkable thing about Pant’s record is that he has taken just three Tests to get to the landmark.
Pant started off the tour in grand style by becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to take 11 catches in a match in the Adelaide Test which India won by 31 runs. The Delhi youngster became just the third wicketkeeper in history to take 11 catches after England’s Jack Russell and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.
In his knock of 114, Pant also became the first Indian keeper to hit a century in England. The previous best was by Dhoni in 2007 when he blasted 92 at The Oval in a series where only Anil Kumble was the lone centurion. Pant joins an elite list of wicketkeepers who has scored more than two centuries in overseas Tests. Moin Khan and Mushfiqur Rahim are the others who have achieved this feat. Pant’s achievement in Sydney is staggering considering the fact that he is the only Asian keeper to have hit a century Down Under.