Rishabh Pant hogged the headlines for his butterfingers when he leaked as many as 76 byes in six innings behind the stumps in England. Called upon to replace an out of form Dinesh Karthik, Pant gifted England freebies with his questionable keeping against the moving ball with several veteran keepers labelling him a “work in progress”.
"He (Pant) is still very raw and I think it's a wrong policy to pick players based on their IPL form. His basics of keeping are not correct. My concern is if he is not able to keep to spinners in England, he will have problems on fourth and fifth day tracks in the sub-continent," Nayan Mongia, had said after watching Pant’s glovework.
While some questions still remain on the quality of his wicket-keeping, the young 20-year old has certainly made a statement with the bat – with blistering hundreds at The Oval and in Sydney. Also, the overall standards behind the stumps have also improved - the byes-count went down from 76 to 25 and 29 in the series against West Indies and Australia.
In Australia, Pant effected 20 dismissals behind the stumps which is the most ever by an Indian keeper in any of the SENA countries. He averaged 2.5 dismissals per innings, (he had a similar rate of dismissals in England), and showed signs of continuous growth and improvement.
Among the top five ‘dismissals in a series’ by Indian keepers in SENA countries, Pant features twice. These are the only twoseries Pant has played outside India. Scan his run-tally in Australia and it further breaks several records. His 350 runs in the series came at an average of 58.33 and he was the second highest run-scorer in the series.
No Indian keeper has made more runs in an overseas Test series for India ever. andIn fact, his aggregate features amongst highest 15 by any wicket-keeper in an away series.
Pant also racked up the first century by an Indian keeper in SENA countries in England when he made 114 at The Oval in the final Test. The previous best was Dhoni’s 92 in England.
Pant bettered his own record with a scintillating 159* in the final Test against Australia at Sydney, taking India to a mammoth 622 in the innings. He now has two hundreds in SENA countries whereas none of the other Indian keepers even have one! And, he is just 20 years and 9 Test matches old!