Former Indian chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has weighed in on the debate surrounding the selection of the first-choice wicketkeeper in the Indian Test team between Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha.
Ever since Rishabh Pant has made his Test debut, he has always been preferred over Wriddhiman Saha in overseas conditions while the latter has donned the gloves on home soil.
However, the team management decided to play Saha over Pant in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval despite the latter boasting of hundreds in England and Australia and a whirlwind 73-ball 103* in the pink ball warm-up game against Australia A.
But, with Wriddhiman Saha having a horrendous outing in Adelaide- he scored 9 and 4- experts and former cricketers have been calling for the inclusion of Rishabh Pant for the Boxing Day Test.
MSK Prasad, during an exclusive interview with Sports Tak, was asked the same and he too called for the inclusion of the southpaw for the rest of the Australian series.
“When you keep in subcontinent conditions against quality spinners like Ashwin or even to an extent Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav, you need that skill set which I feel Rishabh still doesn’t have. But when you play abroad your wicketkeeping skills are not as tested as it is here in subcontinent conditions,” MSK Prasad told Sports Tak.
“There its comes like whoever bats better, yes off course he (Pant) has also taken 10 catches in an innings, of course he has gone through a tough period, his fitness levels had fallen down (during IPL 2020) but I am sure he must have worked hard now, IPL got over one month back, he got a hundred in a warm-up game. So taking all these things into consideration, I feel that he should play ahead of Wriddhiman Saha in the remaining 3 Test matches,” he added.
I will still keep Wriddhiman Saha in the squad and play him in subcontinent conditions over Rishabh Pant- MSK Prasad
However, MSK Prasad added that India should continue with Wriddhiman Saha in home Tests as he believes that Rishabh Pant still doesn’t have the skill-set to keep on turning tracks against the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“Wriddhiman Saha is a fantastic wicketkeeper but as a batsman in overseas conditions, Pant is ahead of him. See, even if Rishabh Pant comes good with bat and he does with gloves also, in subcontinent conditions I will still stick with Wriddhiman Saha because it’s not easy to keep Jadeja and Ashwin here,” Prasad said.
“So, Wriddhiman Saha should be the in the squad. Like how Saha is going to be 2nd keeper if Pant plays now, in subcontinent let Saha play and Pant wait for his chances. I will still keep Saha in squad and play him in subcontinent conditions. We should have horses for courses,” he added.
“If we are picking bowlers according to conditions then why not for wicketkeepers. Probably this is the new way of thinking,” he signed off.