India in England Test Series 2018: A game changer who can resolve India's lower order conundrum
With the tour scoreline standing at 1-1 after the conclusion of limited-overs series, the focus has been shifted on to the upcoming 5-match test series starting on 1 Aug 2018. The 18-man Indian squad for the test series was selected on 18 July 2018. Rishabh Pant got his maiden test call-up due to Wriddhiman Saha's injury.
Though everyone would think that Dinesh Karthik will be the automatic replacement for Saha, it would be a bold move if the team management decides to include Pant in the playing XI. It might be a bizarre idea, but let's go through some facts about Pant before getting into a conclusion.
Rishabh Pant- A star in making
A promising youngster from Delhi, Pant came into the limelight after his tremendous performance in the U-19 World Cup, 2016. Showing off his hitting prowess, he scored a 24-ball 75 against Nepal, which was the fastest half-century of the tournament.
Ranji Trophy Exploits
Considering his performance in U-19 World Cup, Pant became a part of the Delhi team in the Ranji Trophy. The 2016-17 season of Ranji Trophy saw the rise of Pant as a longest format player.
In 12 innings, he averaged 81, scoring a whopping 972 runs at a staggering strike-rate of 107.28 with 4 hundreds. His best innings of 308 off 326 deliveries came against Maharashtra in the same season, becoming the 4th youngest triple-centurion in First-Class cricket.
He also scored the fastest century in Ranji Trophy from just 48 balls against Jharkhand in the same season. Though he didn't fare well in the 2017-18 season, his best was about to come in IPL 2018.
IPL 2018: Resurgence of Pant
The stylish left-hander created a buzz around the town after his blistering performance in the 11th edition of IPL.
With his mesmerizing stroke-play, he single-handedly dismantled many bowling line-ups. In 14 matches, Pant notched up 684 runs at a mind-boggling strike rate of 173.6 with 5 fifties and a hundred. The consistent performance was the key behind his monumental success in the season.
With his unbeaten score 128* off 63 balls against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, he holds the record for the highest individual score by an Indian in IPL history.
Eye-catching performances in England
After his blistering performance in IPL, he was a part of the India A squad in England for the tri-series. He guided the team to series victory with a 62-ball 64* effort in the final against England Lions.
In an unofficial test against England Lions, he scored twin fifties. The performance came when senior players like Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane struggled against a decent bowling line-up. He was the only bright spot as India A lost the match by 253 runs.
Comparison with Adam Gilchrist
Rishabh Pant has the knack of scoring runs at a fast pace in any format, which leads to his comparison with the Australian legend Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist was a part of the 'The Invincible' Australian side and changed the role of a wicket-keeper in a side.
His lower order exploits at a quick pace led Australia to victory on many occasions. Batting mostly at No.6 or 7, Gilchrist scored 5570 runs at a mind-boggling strike-rate of 81.95 in 137 innings, which is way ahead of par strike-rate in test matches.
Pant is a kind of player who can take away the game from the opposition within a session's play. Let's hope that the Indian team management makes this bold move.