India’s new wicketkeeping record-holder Rishabh Pant has paid tribute to former captain MS Dhoni, labelling him “the hero of the country” after India’s win in the first Domain Test in Adelaide.
Pant took 11 catches in India’s 31-run victory over Australia, the most by any Indian in a Test match, the most in Australia and the equal-most by any player ever.
The 21-year-old took six catches in Australia’s first innings, the most by any gloveman in one innings at the venue and the equal-most by an Indian keeper worldwide, joining Dhoni on that mark.
He then backed that up by claiming another five catches in the second innings to complete 11 dismissals for the match, surpassing Dhoni’s best of nine and Wriddhiman Saha’s Indian record of 10.
“I never thought of the record but it’s good to take some catches and put it inside my kitty,” Pant told cricket.com.au.
“It’s good to have milestones, but I’m not thinking about that too much.”
Pant joined England’s Jack Russell and South Africa’s AB de Villiers in sharing the all-time record of 11 catches in a Test, while he overtook England’s Bob Taylor, Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and India’s Saha, who all took 10 in a match.
He also had the chance to take the overall record partway through the second session on the final day, but he grassed a difficult chance offered by Nathan Lyon off the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah.
Saha took 10 catches in a Test against South Africa in Cape Town earlier this year, his 10 dismissals breaking the previous Indian record of nine dismissals (eight catches and one stumping) set by Dhoni at the MCG four years ago, which proved to be the final Test of the legendary gloveman’s career.
Pant says Dhoni, who he’s played alongside for India in limited-overs cricket, has been an influential figure early in his international career.
“He’s the hero of the country,” Pant said of Dhoni.
“I’ve learnt a lot from him as a person and as a cricketer as well.
“Whenever he’s around, I feel more confident as a person. If I’ve got any problems I can share it with him and get a solution right away.
“As a wicketkeeper and a player (he’s taught me) to be patient in pressure situations like this (in Adelaide).
“You have to keep calm and keep composed and try to give 100 per cent.”
Pant largely has India’s three-man pace attack to thank for his record; five of his first-innings catches were fairly regulation grabs from the bowling of the quicks and he picked up another three such dismissals from the seamers in the second innings.
He also snaffled an excellent catch off the glove of Usman Khawaja in the first innings while keeping up to the stumps to spinner Ravi Ashwin.
In the second innings, he moved well from behind the stumps to accept a catch that controversially ended Aaron Finch’s innings, while he moved smartly to claim a top-edged pull shot from Tim Paine on Monday.
Playing just his sixth Test, Pant made several entertaining cameos in the first Test of the series; his breezy 16-ball innings of 28 with the bat on Sunday featured four fours and a six, including three fours and a maximum in consecutive balls off the bowling of Lyon.
In August, the damaging left-hander became the first Indian and just the 12th man ever to bring up his first Test runs with a six, clobbering a maximum to get off the mark in his debut against England.
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 6-10: First Test, Adelaide Oval
Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar