WTC final: Wriddhiman Saha backs Rishabh Pant as "India's first-choice keeper"

Rishabh Pant was instrumental in helping India recently seal a memorable Test series win in Australia.

Rishabh Pant in a file photo. (Image Credit: Twitter/@ICC)
By Arnab Mukherji | May 21, 2021 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has expressed his belief that Rishabh Pant deserves to be the first-choice wicketkeeper in the English tour, having performed brilliantly in the longest format recently. Saha’s opinion is certainly quite generous considering he is directly competing with Pant for the spot of a keeper. The veteran’s skills as a wicket-keeper have been hailed by one and all. However, Pant’s performances with the bat have been exceptional to say the least, driving the spotlight away from Saha.

“Rishabh Pant played the last few matches of the World Test Championship, he’s done well and he should be our first-choice keeper in England. I would just wait, and if any opportunity arises, I will give my best. I will keep practicing for that one chance,” said the veteran wicket-keeper in an interaction with Sportskeeda as quoted by India Today.

“Can only try to perform”

Saha made his debut in the longest format of the game back in 2010. The Test match was against South Africa in Nagpur. The 36-year-old has played 38 Tests, accumulating three tons and five fifties so far. Saha was initially given an opportunity in the opening Test of the away tour of Australia. Lack of runs in the game resulted in the veteran being dropped in favour of Pant. The young cricketer played a crucial role in helping India record an excellent comeback. Pant further made his presence felt in the triumph at home in the Test series against England.

“I try to be the same irrespective of the situation. Whether I am performing or no, I don’t see any change in myself, no idea if others around me spot anything different. We can only try to perform sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn’t and the management takes the call based on all these parameters. Practice remains the same, irrespective of whether I am playing or not. I always try to improve, but yes, there is a huge gulf between a practice session and a professional match. It ultimately boils down to who delivers on the bigger stage,” added Saha.

The veteran further stated that he remained unaffected by the decision to include KS Bharat in the setup.

“I didn’t have COVID-19 during the last series but KS Bharat was still with the team. So what do you say then? Now that I contracted the infection, people are labelling him as my ‘cover’. But I feel they have picked a third keeper bearing in mind the risk outside,” he said.

“As we saw, anybody can get the infection from anywhere and two keepers are anyway a must these days. So if one keeper falls sick by any chance, then we will be in a spot of bother. I think that’s the reason why they have decided to travel with the three of us,” concluded Saha.

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