Former India off-spinner, Murali Kartik predicts that India could play both wicket-keepers, Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha in the same eleven for the second Test in Melbourne.
After India’s shameful batting performance on Day 3 of the Adelaide Test where the team bundled out for 36 runs – India’s lowest ever total in Test cricket – captain, Virat Kohli blamed ‘lack of intent’ from the batsmen. India bottled their lead of 54 runs gained from the first innings, and was bowled out in less than 22 overs as Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood ran riot at the Adelaide Oval.
Pant has not done anything wrong as a batsman: Murali Kartik
Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Wriddhiman Saha was picked over Rishabh Pant for the first Test despite Pant scoring a scintillating hundred in the second warm-up match- Saha being a better keeper than Pant is the only explicable reason for this decision.
However, now with a void created by the departure of Virat Kohli – who will leave for home to attend the birth of his child – and also for his ‘lack of intent’ comments, Murali Kartik opines that Rishabh Pant could be slotted in the eleven.
He reckons that Ajinkya Rahane can bat at four and Rishabh Pant can be used purely as a batsman as the dynamic left-hander brings an X-factor in the batting order.
Speaking to Sony Sports Network, Murali Kartik said, “One more thing can happen is that Ajinkya Rahane who plays up the order in first-class cricket can himself come at No. 4 because of the forced change. You can use Rishabh Pant just as a batsman with the X-factor.”
The 44-year-old feels that Pant has done nothing wrong to be dropped from the Test eleven – not to forget the 23-year-old southpaw averaged 58 on the previous tour to Australia and is the only Indian wicket-keeper to notch a Test hundred in England and Australia.
Kartik suggests that both Pant and Saha can co-exist in the same eleven, with, of course, Saha as the wicket-keeper. The second Test in Melbourne begins on 26th December.
“Rishabh Pant has not done anything wrong as a batsman so you can play him as a batsman and don’t take the gloves from Wriddhiman Saha. So, that can also happen. It all depends on their thinking,” Murali Kartik added.