Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has heaped high praise on swashbuckling Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant following his match-winning 89* that helped India gun down the total of 328 and inflict a maiden defeat on Australia in their fortress Gabba since 1988-89.
Pant did not feature in the first Test of the series as India went with the superior wicketkeeping skills of Wriddhiman Saha over the batting flair of the Delhi swashbuckler.
However, with Saha enduring a tough outing in what was a humiliating 8-wicket defeat for Team India after they were knocked over for their record-lowest total of 36, the visitors roped in Rishabh Pant for the Boxing Day Test to beef up their batting-unit in the absence of Kohli.
Pant made an immediate impact as he scored a momentum-changing 29 in the first innings of the MCG Test that helped India take a massive and eventual match-winning lead.
However, it was in Sydney and then in Brisbane where Pant showcased his talent to the hilt. His whirlwind 97 off 118 deliveries on the last day of the SCG Test played a huge role in India drawing the game.
When he was smashing the Australian bowlers to all corners, even an Indian win looked like a possibility. However, that wasn’t the case as Lyon eventually dismissed him for 97.
A week later in Brisbane, Rishabh Pant found himself in a similar situation but this time he ensured that he stayed till the end and score a match-winning 89* and fittingly hit the winning runs as India scripted a heist for the ages.
Speaking on Sports Today, Michael Clarke termed Rishabh Pant as an ‘absolute superstar’, someone who can play match-changing innings got India in Test match cricketer, similar to what MS Dhoni or Adam Gilchrist used to do in their heydays.
“I have seen more of Rishabh Pant through commentating in the IPL. I always thought he is a superstar. I think probably India went a little bit safer in the first Test match, by picking their best keeper,” Michael Clarke said.
“But again, someone like Rishabh Pant, he has got to be playing. It’s worth a risk, yes, he might drop a couple of catches but he is going to win games for that team. He has got MS Dhoni in him in his batting style or Adam Gilchrist in his batting style. Absolute superstar!” he added.