Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has heaped high praise on Rishabh Pant following his match-winning 89* at the Gabba in Brisbane, one that not helped India breach Australia’s fortress but also claim their second successive Test series win Down Under.
Rishabh Pant redeemed himself big time with the bat in the last two Tests as he smashed a whirlwind 97 in Sydney to help India draw the Test match before backing it with an unbeaten 89 which paved the way for the visitors to gun down their third-highest run-chase in Test history.
That said, there is still a lot of question marks around Pant’s credentials as a keeper especially against spin but Wriddhiman Saha has urged fans and pundits to give the 23-year-old some breathing space as he feels that the southpaw will definitely improve with time. Saha was full of praise for Pant, given the way he showed his intent after being sidelined from the white-ball set-up.
“No one learns algebra in class I. You always go step by step. He is giving his best and will definitely improve. He has matured and proved himself. In the long run, it augurs well for the Indian team,” said Wriddhiman Saha.
“The way he has shown his intent after being sidelined from his favourite T20 and ODI formats was really exceptional.” Since his knock in Brisbane, Rishabh Pant has been compared with the legendary MS Dhoni. When asked about the same, Saha said-“Dhoni will remain Dhoni and everyone has his own identity”.
‘We have a friendly relationship’- Wriddhiman Saha on his rapport with Rishabh Pant
Wriddhiman Saha was dropped from the Test team following a poor outing in the Adelaide Test where he managed scores of 9 and 4 and dropped a few chances behind the stumps. With Pant having played back-to-back knocks of his life, many feel that the veteran’s wicketkeeper’s career is as good as over. However, the Bengal keeper does not feel that way and is extremely confident that he will come out of the bad phase and once again represent his country, as and when the team-management wants him to.
”You can ask him (Pant), we have a friendly relationship and help each other whoever gets into the XI. Personally, there’s no conflict with him. I dont’ see who is No.1 or 2… Team will give a chance to those who do better. I will continue to do my job. Selection is not in my hands, it’s up to the management.” Saha said.
”Anyone can go through a bad phase. A professional player always accepts the highs and lows, be it with form or criticism. I was unable to score runs that’s why Pant got the chance. It’s as simple as that. I always focused on improving my skills…It’s the same approach now,” he said.
The 36-year-old further added that India’s triumph in Australia is no less than a World Cup win given the magnanimity of adversities that they encountered both on and off the field.
“Even though I did not play (in three matches), I enjoyed every moment of it. We faced challenges in putting up 11 players, so it was an outstanding feat, an outstanding team effort. Definitely, it will be one of our greatest series wins,” he said.