A wicketkeeper who bats left-handed and is known for his aggressive game. Only one name surfaced on top ever since the young Rishabh Pant burst into scene and hence the comparison was inevitable with one of the all-time greats of the game, Adam Gilchrist. And none other the legendary gloveman’s compatriot and former teammate, Ricky Ponting, to make the argument or draw a similarity between the two, having also shared the dressing room with Pant for Indian Premier League (IPL) Delhi franchise Capitals.
Speaking on The ICC Review, Ponting did admit that they are a bit similar but did not conclude on the point as he felt that Pant needs to complete playing at least 50 to 60 Tests before he can start making a comparison to “one of the all -time great wicket-keeper batters.”
“Yeah, [they are] little bit the same,” said Ponting. “I know Rishabh’s really burst onto the scene, but let’s just let him play his 50-60 Test matches first before we start making comparisons to one of the all-time great wicket-keeper batters.
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“But if you think about their personalities – Rishabh is a lot more outward, a lot louder, a lot noisier and ultra-competitive. Gilly was ultra-competitive as well, but a lot quieter and reserved, until he got his bat in his hand and then he became exactly the same as Rishabh.”
The former Australian captain also recalled a funny incident involving Gilchrist to show similarity in approach as a batsman with Pant.
Speaking on a home Test against Pakistan in Sydney, Ponting recalled how he had advised Gilchrist to deny Danish Kaneria, who was bowling around the wicket and into the bog footmarks, and rather wait for the new ball which was just around the corner. However, Gilchrist did not pay heed to Ponting’s advise and instead sent the next ball sailing over the fence for a six.
“You couldn’t try and tell him [Gilchrist] how to play,” said Ponting.
“I remember having a conversation with him late in a Test match at the SCG against Pakistan. He and I were batting, so we must have been four or five down, maybe just three overs left in the day, of which Danish Kaneria had to bowl two of them – and he was bowling around the wicket to Gilly into the big footmarks with a long-on and deep mid-wicket.
“So I went down to him and said, ‘Look, let’s just get through tonight, we have a beautiful batting day tomorrow, this wicket’s going to be good. There’s a new ball around the corner, so just get through’.
“Next ball, he ran down the wicket, it landed in the footmark and he hit it over long-on’s head for six, and I thought, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter. It’s not good for me talking to him because he is not listening’. But he got through the night, I don’t know how he did, but he got through those few overs and went in and cashed in the next day.”
Ponting feels that with Pant having a lot of scores of 90 in Test cricket, he must have followed the same approach.
“Rishabh will be exactly the same. If you look at Rishabh – I am not sure how many Test hundreds he’s got – but he has a few 90s in there. And he’s actually got out trying to bring up his hundred with a six. That’s the good and the bad, right?”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism