AUS v IND 2018-19: Gilchrist weighs Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha’s glovework

Pant scored a swashbuckling 159* in India's first innings at the SCG.

Gilchrist was full of praise for Pant's swashbuckling batting style | Getty

Rishabh Pant hit a fabulous 159* to help India notch up a mammoth 622/7 (declared) in the first innings of the fourth and final Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

It was Pant’s second century outside the subcontinent in only his 9th Test. No wonder, he is garnering praise from all the quarters.

Impressed with Rishabh’s showing with the willow, legendary Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist told Sportstar: “Pant is exciting to watch, bats without inhibitions. He attacks the bowlers, is flamboyant. As time goes on, he will learn to balance his aggression with defence.”

Although Pant is magnificent with the bat, his glovework hasn’t been up to the mark in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

When asked about Rishabh’s wicket-keeping, Gilchrist said, “There is a lot of promise in him. He moves well, has energy. He has a good base to work on. He has dropped a couple of diving catches in the series but they were not due to faulty positioning, they were owing to glove work.”

“Pant has been caught out a few times getting up too early and ahead of the bounce while standing up. He will learn to stay low and rise with the bounce,” he elaborated.

Gilchrist reckons that the Indian team management will have to make a tough decision when Wriddhiman Saha returns from injury.

“I think it should be left to the bowling group to make that decision, whether they want Saha’s high quality glovework behind the stumps or the extra runs by Pant. Saha himself is a very good batsman,” he remarked.

Talking about the best wicketkeeper in the world currently, Gilchrist named his compatriot Tim Paine, saying: “He [Paine] is balanced, has soft hands, is excellent both standing back and up. I think Sarah Taylor is very good in women’s cricket. She’s technically brilliant.”

Adam Gilchrist also praised the Indian pace attack for being dominant in the Test series down under. Bumrah, Shami and Ishant led India to a stunning 137-run victory in the Boxing Day Test at MCG and ensured an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

The highly impressive trio claimed 136 wickets across Tests in South Africa, England, and Australia during 2018, which is more than the 130 scalps recorded by West Indies legends Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding in the year 1984.

“Statistically, they are doing better than the West Indian quicks of the ’80s. It doesn’t mean they are the better than the Caribbean fast bowlers but it certainly says they have been very effective,” Gilly said.

“I think the Indian planning has been exceptional. The have been smart, quick to act. For instance dropping both openers mid-way through the series in Melbourne was a bold decision,” he added.

On being asked about the most influential player in the series, Gilchrist said, “Kohli has been good but Pujara has been the difference between the two sides.”

The Aussie rated Kohli very high. “When he finishes, I think Kohli would have broken all major batting records. He will be among the best batsmen ever, no question about that. As captain, he has been aggressive and motivated his men well in this series.”

(With inputs from Sportstar)

By Salman Anjum - 05 Jan, 2019

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