As the talks of Rishabh Pant being slotted in the playing eleven for the Boxing Day Test increases, however, former Australia batsman, Michael Hussey opines that Wriddhiman Saha should be preferred over the left-hander as Saha is a better keeper than Pant.
The axe is inching closer to Saha position in the eleven, and reasonably. Saha’s strong suit over Pant of wicket-keeping is looking farce after he dropped a couple of catches- although both difficult, you expect the labelled ‘best keeper in the country’ to grab the half chances.
Saha by any means isn’t providing batting contributions as Pant has for India, of late. The Bengal wicket-keeper notched his last Test fifty way back in 2017 against Sri Lanka and returned with scores of 9 and 4 in Adelaide- failing to prevent the collapse in the second innnigs.
On the other hand, Rishabh Pant is coming off scoring a crucial half-century for Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2020 final against a strong Mumbai Indians bowling attack followed by a cracking hundred in the pink ball warm-up game versus Australia A. The 23-year-old struck a ton on the previous tour Down Under, after notching his maiden Test hundred in England months before that for India.
You go for the best wicket-keeper: Michael Hussey
Michael Hussey believes that the Indian management should stick with Saha as he is the better gloveman than Pant. Hussey underlines that India cannot afford any drop catches if they aim to make a comeback in the series in Melbourne after the Adelaide loss.
“For me, it comes down to who is the better wicketkeeper and I think the selectors have made the right choice so far. Saha is an outstanding wicketkeeper and a good batsman as well. In the past, I’ve seen the run the wicketkeeper makes as a bonus. I think you go for the best wicketkeeper because you cannot afford to miss a chance behind the stumps – off-spinners or the quicks,” Michael Hussey told ESPNCricinfo.
However, the 45-year-old points out that the Indian batting order is weakened due the loss of Virat Kohli – who returns home to attend the birth of his child – and therefore, Pant, who is a superior batter than Saha, could make it into the eleven. Despite that, the former Aussie is leaning towards the retaining of Saha as the wicket-keeper for the second Test.
“However, you take Virat Kohli out of the equation and you’re bringing in obviously a lesser batsman. Perhaps the extra runs that Rishabh Pant can provide does become a consideration. I’m still leaning towards sticking with Saha but I’ll be open to conversation and seeing what the senior members of the team think,” Michael Hussey added.