Rishabh Rajendra Pant made history on 19th January 2021, as he led India to a historic win, defeating Australia at the fortress Gabba, Brisbane. It was the first time in 32 years that a team was able to defeat Australia in tests at the Gabba. He was adjudged the man of the match for his 89 run knock that came off 138 deliveries.
Well, he had to struggle to get where he is today. He would travel with his mother to Delhi every weekend to attend training sessions and had to find shelter at a Gurudwara. He was born in Uttarakhand on 4th October 1997. His initial under 13 and under 15 careers started with him playing for Rajasthan. Eventually, he made his first-class debut with Delhi in 2015 playing the Ranji Trophy. His first breakthrough came when he scored his first big score of 308 against Maharashtra in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy. He took over Gautam Gambhir as the captain of the Delhi side in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. His explosive batting came out when he scored the second-fastest century in a T20 match against Himachal Pradesh where he scored 100 off just 32 deliveries.
He had a decorated under 19 career. The day Delhi Daredevils bought him for 1.9 Crore INR he smashed a century and thundered India into the semi-finals of the U-19 World Cup. He had a faint record of scoring the maximum individual runs in a single match by an Indian player in the Indian Premier League. He scored 128 off 63 deliveries, which was later broken by KL Rahul, the Kings XI Punjab skipper. He was considered to be MS Dhoni’s successor as a wicket-keeper batsman in the Indian team due to explosive batting and flexible keeping skills but had to wait for his turn.
His lucky turn came when he was selected for India’s T20I squad in 2017 against England and for India’s ODI squad in 2017 against West Indies. He made his test debut against England in 2018, making him the first-ever batsman in test cricket to get off the mark with an over-boundary. Rishabh Pant continued making history and breaking records as he took eleven catches in a test match which is still a record for a keeper against Australia in 2018. He also became the first wicket-keeper to score a century in Australia, all of which happened in the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Rishabh Pant became the fastest Indian wicket-keeper to reach 1000 test runs, the feat which he achieved in only 27 innings beating the record of MS Dhoni’s 32 innings.
He may not be the best keeper India had, but he surely promises a lot and can be found as a permanent solution for India’s keeper problems overcoming the hurdles of KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha. His performances are still under scrutiny and team management is considering him to be the wicket-keeper batsman along with KL Rahul to only be a batsman in limited-overs. Due to his unconventional style of play in test matches, his position might still be confusion for the selection board along with Wriddhiman Saha who is more of a conventional test player. His explosive and unorthodox style of play has earned Rishabh a lot of accolades, but also put his position in jeopardy, given the uncertain shots he plays, making him lose his wicket.
Rishabh Pant scored a crucial 91 run knock in the second innings of the third test match ensuring a drawn test. He provided some important runs to the team in the first innings of the last test and played a historic part in the 328 run chase to win the last test along with taking a 2-1 lead and eventually winning the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
He certainly has the power to dismantle top bowling attacks, but he still needs to work on his batting style and also keep a look on his keeping as he was criticized for some crucial catch drops and stump misses. However, he can ensure a permanent keeping spot in the team in the England series, which is due to be held in February 2021, only if he trains right.