Rishabh Pant shattered a new world record for wicketkeepers as he took his 20th catch of the series between India and Australia during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. When Nathan Lyon edged a short ball from Ishant Sharma to the keeper, 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. However, apart from his keeping, it has been Pant’s legendary sledges behind the wicket which has caught the attention of the cricket fans.
His sledges, notably to Usman Khawaja when he said, “Not everyone is like Pujara here”. On the final day of the match, Pat Cummins was on the receiving end when Pant sledged him from behind by saying, “Come on Patty, we need some sixes now”. His stump mic compilation took Twitter by storm. In Melbourne, Pant and Australia skipper Tim Paine were having a go at each other with both raising the banter level to another level.
Paine had tried to distract Rohit Sharma by saying, ““It’s been a toss up for me between Royals and Indians, and if Rohit hits a six here, I am changing to Mumbai.” When Pant came out to bat, he reminded him that he was not picked in the ODI squad. “Now that Big MS back in the ODI squad, maybe he could play for the Hobart Hurricanes. Beautiful city, rent a nice waterfront place. Do you babysit? I’ll take my wife to the movies one night and you can babysit,” Paine said.
Pant had his moment in the sun when Paine came out to bat and referred to him as a “temporary captain”. “We got a special guest today. Have you ever heard of a temporary captain, ever, Mayank? You don't need anything to get him out, boy. He loves to talk, that's the only thing he can do, boy! Only, talking, talking, talking,” Pant retorted in grand style.
The next match will be in Sydney on January 3 and India will be aiming for a rare series win Down Under.