Pant (24) has had a fantastic start to his Test career. He averages over 40 after 29 matches. The southpaw has also scored four hundreds, with three of them coming in the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries. However, he has struggled for consistency in the white-ball formats.
According to Karim, himself a former wicketkeeper, it is only a matter of time before Pant cements his place in all three formats.
Speaking during a discussion on keepers on the Khelneeti podcast, the 54-year-old asserted:
“We are seeing Rishabh Pant grow. He is having a big impact and his value is slowly rising in the team. I feel he still needs to evolve a bit in white-ball cricket. He needs to achieve a lot. But in Test cricket, he is constantly improving and is adding a lot of value to the team. I feel he will soon be a complete player across formats, which will be very good for India.”
Pant has so far featured in 24 ODIs, scoring 715 runs at an average of 32.50 and a strike rate of 109.32. He has also played 43 T20Is, amassing 683 runs at a strike rate of 125.78.
“Before Dhoni, India did not have a wicketkeeper who was a match-winner as well” - Saba Karim
While praising Pant, Saba Karim also lauded MS Dhoni for redefining the role of wicketkeeper-batters in Indian cricket. According to the former selector, Dhoni was India’s first keeper who was a genuine match-winner as well.
Speaking about the former India’s captain contribution, Karim explained:
“From an Indian perspective, he has had a massive impact. After MS Dhoni came in, the Indians started feeling that they have found a match-winner. With all due respect, before Dhoni India did not have a wicketkeeper who was a match-winner as well. And he was a match-winner not only in white-ball but red-ball cricket as well. When Gilchrist started succeeding for Australia, India always thought we should also have someone like him and Dhoni proved to be the one.”
Having made his international debut in 2004, Dhoni went on to represent India in 90 Tests, 350 ODI and 98 T20Is, scoring 17266 runs across formats.
He remains the only captain to lift all three ICC white-ball trophies - the T20 World Cup (2007), the ODI World Cup (2011) and the Champions Trophy (2013).