Rishabh Pant

They say cricket is a great leveller. Any player who starts to think that he is getting the better of the game, is brought back to ground with great force by the sport. We have seen people go from being anointed future greats to disappearing altogether from the scene.

There is a serious danger of something similar happening to a player who was deemed the most exciting young talent in India over the course of last year or so. That player is Rishabh Pant. The wicketkeeper-batsmen was the toast of the country's cricket-loving population. Despite his many errors behind the wicket, he was still being celebrate endlessly by the media and many experts.

When Pant wasn't chosen for the World Cup, a large section of the media and fans were unhappy about it. Sourav Ganguly, who was the mentor of Delhi Capitals team in the past season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and saw Pant from close quarters, has often described him as 'special.'

But now, the young keeper from Delhi is in a precarious situation. His place in the Test team has been taken away and given to Wriddhiman Saha, who occupied it earlier. This happened at a time when his presence in the teams for the shorter formats was, anyways, being questioned seriously. In ODIs, the left-handed batsman has continuously disappointed with his efforts.

Sanju Samson
Samson has been impressive form for some timeIANS

So, Test cricket was the one format where Pant's position had seemed most strong since it was in this version of the game that he has scored hundreds in both Australia and England. But with Saha back in the Test side, now ODI cricket becomes important for the 22-year old.

However, a new development has taken place which puts Pant's position in the ODI team, already vulnerable, on the cusp of being untenable. On Saturday, October 12, Sanju Samson, the dashing keeper-batsman from Kerala played an incredible innings of 212 runs in just 129 balls for his state side against Goa in a 50-over-a-side game of Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Not only did Samson create all sorts of new records in the sphere of Indian domestic cricket but sent shockwaves through global records also. He now has the highest List A score in the entire world. The record previously belonged to Abid Ali of Pakistan who had scored 209 in Pakistan's List A circuit.

What this innings of Samson means is that when the Indian ODI team is selected in future, it will be nearly impossible for the selectors to ignore him. If they do, there would be a huge backlash. Consequently, if Samson gets into the squad, then Pant may well find himself out of the playing XI, if not the entire squad.

So, while praises have been sung in honour of Pant over the last year, we could suddenly see his counterpart from Kerala emerge as the successor to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Difficult times lie ahead for Pant.