Former Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel has been highly impressed with swashbuckling left-hander Rishabh Pant's consistency, especially in Test cricket. The 24-year-old played another impactful innings against Sri Lanka on Sunday, becoming the fastest Indian player to score a Test fifty.
Patel believes Pant has already elevated himself into one of the top three wicketkeepers of all time that India have produced based on batting ability. However, in terms of impact, the 37-year-old reckons there is no one better at the moment than Pant.
Speaking to Cricbuzz after the end of Day 2 of the second Test, here's what Parthiv Patel had to say about Rishabh Pant's impact in Test cricket:
"Rishabh Pant has consistently improved his wicketkeeping. However, if we talk about pure batting ability, then he is among the top three (among Indian wicketkeepers). But if it is about having an impact on the game, then Rishabh Pant is currently the best wicketkeeper."
Pant's shot selection often comes under the scanner as there are occasions where he throws his wicket away trying to hit a big shot early in his innings. However, Parthiv Patel opined that the team management should be patient with the 24-year-old and should let him play his natural game. He added:
"Rishabh Pant is such a blockbuster player that there will always be a debate on an odd occasion whether there was any need to play that shot. But I think he should be allowed to play his natural game because if you expect him to bat like others then he will no longer be the Rishabh Pant we know."
Parthiv Patel justifies India's delayed declaration
The Indian pacers wreaked havoc against the visitors under lights on Day 1 as there was plenty of help for the swinging pink ball. Thus, it was assumed that the hosts would once again put Sri Lanka into bat under the lights as soon as they could to make full use of the conditions.
However, India bowled just seven overs late on Day 2 and there has been an argument as to whether the declaration could have come earlier. However, Parthiv Patel believes it was important for the hosts to reach a safe score as Sri Lanka can't be taken for granted. He stated:
"You cannot take any international team lightly. It is important to reach a safe score first and even if it had been any other international team, India would have thought the same way."
"Yes, there could be an argument that India would have got more overs to bowl under lights, but the thought process is always to reach a target that you are comfortable defending. "
With three full days left in the game and India needing just nine wickets to win, there is a high chance that the match will end on Day 3 itself.