Rishabh Pant has remained a part of the Test side, with centuries in England and Australia, but his career-defining innings still eluded him when he came out in the middle of the crease during India’s stiff 328-run chase in the fourth and final Test versus Australia at The Gabba, Brisbane on Tuesday (January 19).
Rishabh Pant, who is used as a keeper-batsman more often during overseas assignments, made a strong case for himself for all formats, and in any conditions, as he displayed his talent fully courtesy his 89 not out in Brisbane win. Thus, it led India to their second straight Test series win on Australian soil (2-1) with a thrilling 3-wicket win in the final Test at Brisbane.
Rishabh Pant Had Caliber To Win Matches And Showed His Exemplary Batting Under Pressure At Gabba: VVS Laxman
A lot has been said and written about India’s 23-year-old Rishabh Pant ever since he failed to make the most of his regular chances post-MS Dhoni’s sabbatical after the 2019 World Cup. As he was touted to be MS Dhoni’s successor across formats, the left-hander slowly and steadily lost the plot gifting away his wicket too often and was removed from the limited-overs side, following KL Rahul’s growth behind the stumps and fitness issues.
Rishabh Pant came out to bat, after a strong foundation provided by opener Shubman Gill (91), with the score 167-3 and remained unbeaten on 83, with 9 fours and 1 six. He timed his chase to perfection and remained undeterred despite Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara’s fall (56).
In the recent edition of the Star Sports show Cricket Connected, VVS Laxman, thus, lavished praise on Pant and stated, “We all knew he had the caliber to win matches, he had all strokes in the book and at the same time he had the ability to hit boundaries and sixes at will of good deliveries. But what he showed at Gabba was just exemplary batting under pressure.”
Rishabh Pant emerged highest run-getter for India and 3rd highest run-scorer in series with 274 runs in 3 Tests averaging 68.5. Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked for the first two Tests in the home series against England next month and it remains to be seen whether the team think tank will play the veteran as a specialist wicketkeeper or include dashing keeper Rishabh Pant after his heroics in Sydney(97) and Brisbane(89*).
Rishabh Pant’s Knock At Gabba Playing High Percentage Shots Can Become A Career-Defining Innings: VVS Laxman
Rishabh Pant was omitted from white ball limited-overs squad in Australia but made it count in Tests with two fifties in consecutive Tests at Sydney and Brisbane. His 97 at Sydney ensured a draw while unbeaten 89 at Brisbane saw India winning the match and series.
He further opined, “Rishabh Pant’s knock at Gabba can become a career-defining innings for him. He was given a promotion and would have been sent with a message to go and play the big shots and to along with the asking run rate. But he went in and batted with maturity, the hurry was not at all seen.”
“The way Nathan Lyon was bowling outside the off-stump and forcing him to play a false shot but he played with patience and whenever he got a chance, he took advantage of that.”
Laxman concluded by saying, “He played high percentage shots and the good thing is that we generally talk that a young player should win the match and not only make a match, and he did that.”
After the series, Rishabh Pant once again made it clear that he doesn’t want to be the next MS Dhoni, but is willing to make an identity of his own in the near future. The left-hander emerged as the third-highest run-getter in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 and Ajinkya Rahane-led India’s most successful batsman with 274 runs at 68.50 with 2 fifties.