There is no hiding for Rishabh Pant this time – even if he scores a hundred while batting – as he dropped another couple of catches on Day 1 of the third Test between India and Australia. Pant’s lack of effectiveness with the gloves went against him when Wriddhiman Saha was picked in Adelaide. He made a comeback in the team on his batting exploits, however, the keeping is raising concern for the management match by match.
Pant dropped Australian opener, Will Pucovski twice in the first innings in Sydney. The right-hander went on to register his maiden Test fifty and stitched a 100-run partnership with Marnus Labuschagne.
In the 22nd over, Ravichandran Ashwin was denied his first wicket of the match had Rishabh Pant held onto a straightforward catch. Ashwin drifted one outside the off-stump of Pucovski, who was batting at 26 then, lured him forward. The ball took a faint edge, however, Rishabh Pant spilt it out from his gloves.
Three overs later, Pucovski, on 32, mistimed a pull shot and the ball brushed his glove. Rishabh Pant dived to take the catch – the ball once again popped out of his hand. He made another attempt to grab it and claimed the catch, however, on watching replays the third umpire observed the ball to touch the ground and declared the batsman as not out.
Rishabh Pant mind was somewhere else: Sanjay Manjrekar
Former India cricketer, Sanjay Manjrekar feels that Pant’s drop off the bowling of Ashwin has more do with his mental presence than his technical flaws. Manjrekar pointed out that the ball deflected very little while taking the edge of the batsman.
Sanjay Manjrekar, 55, opined that it was a regulation catch which Rishabh Pant should have taken. Manjrekar advises the 23-year-old to chirp less and focus on his keeping.
Speaking with Sony Sports Networks, Sanjay Manjrekar said, “If you see the dropped catch against the spinner, I feel it is more a problem with his focus than his technique. There was not much of a deflection, and when the ball comes and hits his gloves, it means his mind was somewhere else.”
“When he talks from behind the wickets and gives advice to Ashwin, I get worried that he should talk less and focus more because keeping requires the greatest focus. If while talking, he can focus and take catches, I have no problem. If I was his captain, I would have told him to keep his mouth shut, eyes open and focus more,” Sanjay Manjrekar added.