India and England are deadlocked heading into the 3rd Test and not many players have had as much of an impact as Rishabh Pant. The Indian wicket-keeper has been in tremendous form and has been responsible for not allowing the English spinners to settle into a rhythm.
To put things into further context, Rishabh Pant blazed away to 91 off 88 balls in the 1st innings of the 1st Test, before repeating the dose with another stellar knock of 58* - the latter coming off 77 deliveries. Throughout both essays though, Rishabh Pant took a particular liking towards Jack Leach, despite the Englishman bowling into the rough outside the left-hander’s off stump.
Consequently, the battle between Rishabh Pant and Jack Leach has morphed into one of the key contests of the series – something that Joe Root agreed upon. However, he also stressed that the latest instalment of that bout had been won by Leach and that Rishabh Pant represented a batsman who always offers a chance.
“The way that that battle finished in the last game, it was probably one to Jack. He [Rishabh] Pant is a fine player. He plays some extraordinary shots and makes it difficult for bowlers to bowl at it. We need to think of ways to keep him quiet. Rishabh Pant is extremely talented, he has a great game but he will always give you a chance,” Joe Root responded to a question from Sportskeeda.
Rishabh Pant has been recalled into India's white-ball teams
As far as Rishabh Pant is concerned, he has also captured the imagination of the cricketing fraternity, owing to his heroics behind the stumps. In the 2nd Test at Chennai, he was brilliant and took a couple of excellent catches. Additionally, his upturn in fortunes have fetched him a place in India’s limited-overs sides against England, with the T20I series set to begin on 12th March.
India, meanwhile, are set to clash swords with England in a Day-Night Test at Ahmedabad, which starts on 24th February. The last time the Men In Blue played a pink-ball game, they were decimated by the Australians at Adelaide.
England, on the other hand, were bowled out for 58 in their most recent pink-ball Test (in 2018) – something that they would want to erase from their memories too.
Thus, the Indians might be looking towards Rishabh Pant to provide a bit of inspiration and pile on the misery on England, considering that he wasn’t a part of the eleven that lost Down Under and the fact that Rishabh Pant seems to have made a major dent in the English spinners’ psyche.