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Is Rishabh Pant already India’s greatest Test wicketkeeeper?

Pant India wicketkeeper
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Rishabh Pant, the swashbuckling India wicketkeeper, completed his third Test century in just his 20th Test match to lift India from a rut after the loss of five wickets for 121 runs on day two of the fourth Test.

If there was any doubt lingering about Pant’s daredevilry, he left nothing to the imagination on day two when he raced into the nineties with a reverse lap off James Anderson followed by a slog sweep for six to get to his hundred off Joe Root.

After 20 Tests, Pant, often spoken of as a limited-overs player for his big hitting, has a stupendous record both in front and behind the stumps. Is he India’s greatest Test wicketkeeper? Probably not yet, but these stats show he is well on his way to earning that tag.

Best batting average for a wicketkeeper

Pant has a batting average of 45.26 after 33 innings, the best for any Indian wicketkeeper batsman to play more than five knocks. He remains the only Indian keeper to average over 40 in Test cricket when a minimum of 10 Test innings is considered. MS Dhoni comes a distant second with an average of 38.09.

Best strike-rate for Indian keepers

Pant has scored runs at a decent rate of 71.47 runs per 100 balls, the best by any Indian wicketkeeper to play at least five innings and the fourth best overall. Five of his nine scores of fifty or more in Test cricket have come at a rate of 80 or more, a sign of how damaging Pant can be once he is well into his innings.

One of only two keepers with hundreds in Australia, England and India

Adam Gilchrist was a freak with the bat, and Pant is proving to be running him close these days. In less than three years of Test cricket, Pant has already notched up Test tons in England, Australia and India, thriving in diverse conditions against different challenges. Gilchrist and Pant are the only wicketkeeper-batsmen to make tons in each of these three nations. Among Indians, Pant is the only one to score more than one century outside Asia in Test cricket.

Frequency of big knocks

Forget his timely knocks, Pant has a knack of kicking on from his starts. In 33 Test innings, Pant has nine scores of fifty or more, one every 3.66 innings on an average, the best for any India wicketkeeper.

Rate of dismissals behind the stumps

For all the uproar regarding his keeping, Pant has 2.025 dismissals per innings on average after 33 innings, the best for any Indian keeper to stand for more than five innings behind the stumps. Dhoni, who has 1.77 dismissals per innings comes in below Pant.

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