Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar on Tuesday heaped praise on Rishabh Pant, saying the India Test vice-captain is not just taking his batting to new heights but greatly improving as a wicketkeeper in Test cricket. Manjrekar said he is pleased that Pant is taking his wicketkeeping duties seriously.
Rishabh Pant became only the second Indian wicketkeeper to score a hundred and a fifty in the same Test as he hit an ocunter-attacking 146 from just 111 balls in the first innings of the rescheduled fifth Test against England In Birmingham. Pant followed it up with a composed half-century in the second innings.
Pant’s efforts went in vain as India failed to defend 378 as England scripted their highest-ever run chase in the history of Test cricket to level the 5-match series 2-2. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root hit unbeaten hundreds and stitched a 269-run stand as England gunned down the total as early as Day. 5 morning.
Pant, as Manjrekar pointed out, kept wickets well in difficult conditions as the new ball was moving both ways, swinging late more often than not. The India wicketkeeper-batter was safe behind the wickets even as drop catches on the outfield cost the visitors.
“No doubt about that (Pant, the batter, impressed). He has established himself as a potential great that we are watching. 5 hundreds and just one at home and rest away from home is just incredible. But I want to just talk about his keeping, a lot has been spoken about his batting,” Manjrekar told Sony Sports on Friday.
“I just love how seriously he has taken that job. Because, after doing well with the bat, you can sometimes ease off. I was a little skeptical about his ability as a keeper, especially in these kind of conditions,” he added.
GROWTH OF WICKETKEEPER PANT
Notably, Pant was not the preferred first-choice wicketkeeper at home as questions were raised about his ability to keep for spinners. However, the Delhi wicketkeeper became the first-choice in Tests after a stunning show with the gloves at home against England last year.
Manjrekar highlighted that MS Dhoni also improved his wicketkeeping as he gained more experience in international cricket and Pant is taking a similar route.
“The big news for India is the growth of Pant the wicketkeeper. You don’t see him chattering much around the stumps. He has taken the job very seriously, and his improvement has been remarkable, just like Dhoni.
“How he sort of improved as a keeper. I loved his commitment because you can take this job a little easy while being so successful as a batter. It’s strikingly brilliant,” Manjrekar said.