Happy Birthday Rishabh Pant: Is the wicketkeeper better choice as T20 captain than Rohit Sharma?

Delhi Capitals captain and Team India wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant turns 24 on Monday (October 4). Pant will be leading out DC to face off against his idol MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in an IPL 2021 match in Dubai.

Indian T20 captain Virat Kohli has announced that he will give up the captaincy in the shortest format of the game after the T20 World Cup 2021 later this month. Fans are now speculating, who will be India’s next T20 captain and if Pant will be a better choice as captain that vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who is the favourite to take over Kohli’s reigns.

Pant is a street-smart cricketer much like former India captain and CSK skipper Dhoni. He has also managed to prove his captaincy credentials both in India and UAE at the IPL 2021 as DC are currently in second position on the points table – level on 18 points with CSK and have already booked their playoffs berth.

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit has had a modest season with the bat and the five-time IPL champions are unlikely to reach the playoffs since they are struggling in 7th place with just 2 more matches remaining. The MI opener is also 10 years elder than Pant – 34 to 24 and many believe that Pant could be a long-term solution for India.

In fact, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar wants Pant to be named vice-captain of the T20 side as well. “I would also keep Rishabh Pant in mind because he has been really impressive in the way he has led a star-studded Delhi team and the bowling changes that he has been making in the T20 format, using (Anrich) Nortje and (Kagiso) Rabada in such a clever manner that actually shows a street-smart captain, and you always want a street-smart captain who can read situations and act immediately. So yes, KL Rahul and Pant are the two guys I would look at as vice captains,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying.

Pant is also DRS expert

Like Dhoni, Pant has also shown capability in spotting DRS opportunities. During India’s Test series against England, skipper Virat Kohli benefitted from Pant’s judgement a couple of times when he was hesitant in taking DRS.

Here are some other records held by birthday boy Pant…

Fastest Indian wicketkeeper to 1,000 Test runs

Pant broke the Dhoni’s record in the final Test against Australia at the Gabba in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy series. He accomplished the milestone in 27 innings whereas MS Dhoni had taken 32 Test innings to score 1,000 runs.

First Indian batsman to start his Test career with a six

Pant scripted history in his maiden Test in 2018 at Trent Bridge against England. The young wicketkeeper obliged his team by smashing leg-spinner Adil Rashid for a straight six on only his second ball of the innings to get off the mark in the third Test of the five-match series.

Most dismissals in a match

Pant also made history by becoming only the third wicketkeeper to be credited with the most dismissals in a single match as he caught 11 times behind the stumps during India against Australia in the 1st Test at Adelaide in 2018. Pant joined an elite list joining Englishman Jack Russell and South African AB de Villiers to have claimed the elusive feat.

He took 6 catches in the 1st innings and followed it up by grabbing another 5 in the 2nd innings as India eventually won the match by 31 runs. With this accomplishment, Pant also achieved the record of the most catches in a match.

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Sagar Biswas

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