Rishabh Pant, Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman, made his international debut in the third and final T20I between India and England in Bangalore on Wednesday. He stayed unbeaten on 5 with India scoring 202/6 in 20 overs.
An explosive batsman, Pant has had an extremely successful domestic season, finishing fourth on the list of top-scorers with 972 runs from eight matches, including four hundreds and two fifties.
It’s the six-hitting ability of the left-hander though that has grabbed eyeballs. He has hit 49 over-boundaries in the Ranji Trophy, followed by Jharkhand’s Ishan Kishan at 36. One of the stars of the 2016 U-19 World Cup where India lost to West Indies in the final, Pant has gone from strength to strength in the last two years.
Aggregating 267 runs in six matches during the U-19 World Cup, Pant was snapped up by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 1.9 crore in the IPL auction on the same day he hit a century against Namibia. His Daredevils stint allowed Pant to continue learning under mentor Rahul Dravid, who was also his U-19 coach.
A year after his Ranji Trophy debut, Pant scored a triple hundred against Maharashtra that almost brought Delhi close to Maharashtra’s first innings score of 635. That was followed by a 48-ball century --- the fastest in Ranji Trophy history --- against Jharkhand. It further bolstered his image as a swashbuckling batsman.
Such has been his impact that even Virender Sehwag tweeted about Pant. His selection was only a matter of time. That it came at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, which has probably the smallest boundaries in India, indicates Virat Kohli’s intention of allowing Pant have a full go at the England bowlers in the decider of the T20I series.