Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s skills behind the stumps have always been under the scanner, and on Sunday, the discussion around Pant playing as a specialist keeper in the Test team took a new turn after the 23-year-old shelled yet another opportunity.
With Rishabh Pant playing as a specialist spinner ahead of Wriddhiman Saha, the spotlight was always going to be on the Delhi swashbuckler as to how he keeps especially against the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin.
And, while no one batted an eyelid when he dropped a caught-behind opportunity of the bowling of Jasprit Bumrah earlier in the match due to it being way down the leg-side, Pant came in for heavy criticism when he dropped a straightforward stumping opportunity of Jack Leach of the bowling of Ashwin.
It all happened in the 187th over of the innings when Ravichandran Ashwin enticed Jack Leach to dance down the track before the former shortened his length to deceive the southpaw.
Leach missed the ball by a long way to give an easy opportunity to Rishabh Pant. Pant gathered the ball and rushed to dislodge the stumps, only to fumble it at the last moment. And, Ashwin’s reaction post the missed stumping told you the entire story.
— Ravi1 (@1RaviR) February 7, 2021
Following his latest missed opportunity, a lot of fans took to Twitter to vent their frustration, calling for Pant’s inclusion in the Test team as just a specialist batsman.
For the uninitiated, India is playing Rishabh Pant over Wridhhiman Saha for the first time since 2018 following the southpaw’s brilliant back-to-back match-winning knocks in Sydney and Brisbane.
Here’s a look at a few reactions on social media following the missed stumping by Rishabh Pant:
Everyone misses stumping. Even great keepers do but the way Pant missed that stumping of Leach off Ashwin tells me all I need to know about Pant the keeper.
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 7, 2021
— MJ (@milindjog) February 7, 2021
Rishabh Pant needs to spend some time with Dhoni to work on his wicket-keeping
— Aman Sharma (@AmanKayamHai_ET) February 7, 2021
No matter how match winning innings you can bat, without wicket keeping skill you shouldn’t be in the team as wicket keeper. #RishabhPant wicket keeping skill is equal to new school boy . Especially in #India where bowl turn, you need basics right. #INDvsENG #BCCI
— Hemal (@Hemal3490) February 7, 2021
Just the way he gathered the ball and rushed to take the bails off and missed, proves that Rishabh Pant is not a natural wicket-keeper. Play him as a keeper in white ball cricket to help him improve & play him as a batsman in Tests. Team will be doing him a favour. #INDvsENG
— Nitin Naik (@toi_nitinnayak) February 7, 2021
Rishabh Pant has a better future behind a mic as Stand Up Comedian, than behind Stumps as WK…#INDvsENG
— kuldeep (@imkuldeep) February 7, 2021
— Amit Mehra (@IamAmitMehra) February 7, 2021