The flamboyant Indian wicket-keeper batter, Rishabh Pant was recently adjudged Player of the Series in the recently concluded two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. The prestigious award was Pant’s first in his career, but more so because it has also become a record. Before Pant, no Indian wicketkeeper has ever won a Player of the Series award in Test cricket, not even MS Dhoni.
And here is a 30-Test old Pant, who is 24 years old, had amassed 185 runs in three innings at a strike rate of 120, and also inflicted as many as eight dismissals from behind the stumps. Pant had smashed 96 in the first Test match at Mohali and followed it with a record-breaking half-century in the Bengaluru pink-ball Test, where he made the record of being the fastest batter to reach a 50-run mark, breaking Kapil Dev’s nearly 40-year old record.
Rishabh Pant got his fifty in 28 balls, while Kapil had that in 30 balls. With the award, Pant has now joined Australia legendary wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist in the elusive list. Gilchrist, meanwhile, won the award thrice in his illustrious career – Australia in South Africa Test Series (2001/02), Trans-Tasman Trophy (2004/05), and ICC Super Series Test Match (ICC World XI in Australia) in 2005.
The Indian skipper, Rohit Sharma was mighty impressed with Pant’s improved batting in the Sri Lanka series as well, acknowledging that his game plan has gotten better.
During the post-match press conference, Rohit Sharma said, “His batting is his batting. We know how he bats and as a team, we just want to give him that freedom to bat in the way that he wants to bat. But also keep in mind certain situations of the game, where the game is going, we have also conveyed that to him, but we want to stick with his game plan as a team. It just seems to get better and get better – his game plans.”
He further added, “There will be times when you will smash your head and say ‘why did he play that shot’ but again we need to be ready to accept that with him when he bats. And he is somebody who can change the game in 40 minutes.”