Former Indian opener-turned commentator Aakash Chopra has weighed in on the conundrum surrounding the Indian team-management as far as the selection of the first-choice wicketkeeper- Wriddhiman Saha or Rishabh Pant– in their Test team is concerned.
Wridhhiman Saha was preferred over Rishabh Pant in the first Test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on the back of the formers superior wicketkeeping skills; a stark departure from the policy that the management has followed ever since Pant made his Test debut against England back in 2018.
Since Pant’s Test debut, the Indians have opted for the southpaw in overseas Tests while sticking with the veteran Bengal stumper Wriddhiman Saha in home Tests.
With Saha having a forgettable outing in the first Test both with the bat as well as behind the stumps, former cricketers and pundits have been calling for the inclusion of Pant for the Boxing Day Test. Weighing on the debate, Aakash Chopra has said that while he is all for the inclusion of the Delhi southpaw, he wouldn’t criticize the management if they give Saha another chance in Melbourne.
“This is one change that can probably happen. I am not advocating that but just starting a conversation. Since, Virat Kohli is leaving, you will play Shubman Gill or KL Rahul instead of him. So, your batting has already become weaker,” Aakash Chopra said in a reply to a question from a fan in a video uploaded on his Facebook page.
“Your openers are already not firing. So, when you see this combination, you can go towards Pant. But even if you play Saha, I am not going to criticise you even once,” he added.
Aakash Chopra further added that a narrative has been created that Rishabh Pant can’t keep and Wriddhiman Saha cannot bat, something he doesn’t believe in one bit.
“If you want to play a better keeper at No.7, that is Saha. It is not the case that Saha cannot bat, and it is not that Pant can’t keep wickets,” Chopra said.
“Till now, the atmosphere has been created that Pant is a bad keeper. How is that the case, as he takes very good catches, and last time on the Australian tour, he had taken the maximum catches; and Saha cannot bat; how can he not as he has a Test century. If you have in mind that you should play a left-hander, there is no other left-hander in the lineup, and there is no game-changer. I am okay with it, but I am not going to criticise if you play Saha,” he signed off.