Former India spinner, Pragyan Ojha opines that India should back Wriddhiman Saha instead of replacing him with Rishabh Pant after just one match for the Melbourne Test. The axe is hanging on Saha’s head after the wicket-keeper not only didn’t score any significant runs but also dropped a couple of catches – both difficult though.
However, his superior keeping skills to that of Pant is what tempted the management to go with the Bengal keeper in the first place despite the left-hander scoring a thunderous 73-ball century in the practice game and having a successful tour down under with the bat a couple of years ago.
While Saha is a better gloveman than Pant, he isn’t by any means a better batsman than the southpaw. Saha 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 contrary, not only Pant has been amongst heavy runs in the IPL – baring the 2020 season – he was indeed the first-choice overseas keeper for India; Pant was preferred over Saha in New Zealand earlier in the year, he is also the only Indian keeper ever to have a ton in both England and Australia to his name.
You have to show your belief in senior players: Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha initially wanted the 23-year-old for the Adelaide Test based on his exploits in the pink-ball warm-up match. However, now as India went with Saha, Ojha feels that it would be unfair to drop him after just one Test failure- almost all other batters also disappointed.
The former off-spinner believes that if the 36-year-old keeper is dropped for the Boxing Day Test, then he will probably never play again for India as Pant is the future.
Speaking to Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha said, “I was backing Rishabh Pant for the first Test because of his batting. It was the pink ball and I was thinking that if Rishabh plays, he will get you those crucial runs. But now you are talking about a 36-year-old guy (Saha). He has just played 1 Test and if he is out of this team, there is no U-turn for him, so you give him one more chance.”
The former Mumbai Indians spinner reckons that the management should back their senior players; instead of making a plethora of changes – Mohammaed Shami and Virat Kohli are unavailable for the tour further, Prithvi Shaw could also be dropped – stick with the players who were trusted for the first Test.
“Yes, we got out for 36. But the most important thing is that you have to show your belief in senior players. I feel Wriddhi can do wonders. One game and you do so many changes, I think it will hurt further. I feel you should give him one more chance,” Pragyan Ojha added.