Ricky Ponting: ‘Rishabh Pant is like another Adam Gilchrist’

Rishabh Pant, India’s 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, will score more Test centuries than M. S. Dhoni, predicts Ricky Ponting.

Promising player: Rishabh Pant is cock-a-hoop after scoring his century at the SCG.   -  Getty Images

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has been impressed enough by India’s wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant to compare him with the versatile Adam Gilchrist.

“He is a real talent and an incredibly good ball striker. He has got a really good game sense as well. I have been lucky enough to coach him at Delhi [Capitals, in the IPL],” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “He has got to do a bit of work on his keeping and he will also become a better batsman. We talk about him in the commentary box and he is sort of like another Adam Gilchrist,” Ponting added.

On Friday, Pant had become the only Indian wicketkeeper to score a century on Australia soil. He had smashed an unbeaten 159, sharing a 204-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja en route. He also registered the highest Test score by a designated wicketkeeper on foreign soil. M. S. Dhoni, for his 148 against Pakistan in 2006, had held the record for 13 years.

Great promise

The 21-year-old will score more Test centuries than Dhoni, feels Ponting.

“We talk about M. S. Dhoni all the time and his impact on Indian cricket. He played a lot of Tests for India but made only six Test hundreds. This kid will make a lot more Test hundreds than that,” Ponting declared. “He has already scored his second Test ton and a couple of 90s to go with it. Look, he is someone who could play a lot of Test cricket for India across formats. Pant is only 21 and is already into his ninth Test,” Ponting pointed out.

Read | Pant or Saha? India has a tough decision to make, says Gilchrist

Gilchrist, the former Australia wicketkeeper, also praised Pant for pacing his innings well. “He played a beautiful innings [on Friday],” Gilchrist told foxsports.com.au. “We probably all expected him to bat aggressively from ball one but he showed he can build an innings and then by the end of it allowed himself to play with all the freedom that we know he’s got. It was entertaining. He’s a cricketer that I would happily pay to watch,” Gilchrist said.

‘Great foundation’

Gilchrist believes Pant has a “great foundation” to allow for a distinguished career in Test cricket. “He’s a cricketer that is at the start of his journey so he’ll learn these particular parts of the game and he’ll learn that there’s always more time than what you think, but he’s got a great foundation to be a successful Test cricketer,” he said.

Read | The team has given me the freedom to express myself, says Pant

Though he shone with the bat, Pant’s keeping wasn’t always up to the mark. He dropped Usman Khawaja off Mohammed Shami late on the Day Two. However, Gilchrist said Pant will become a reliable wicketkeeper as he learns from his mistakes. “Although he’s missed a few opportunities with the gloves, he’s certainly held onto more than he’s spilt. If he’s prepared to work on his game, I’m sure he’ll develop and become a really reliable keeper,” Gilchrist said.

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