‘He would be the choice of the management’: Sunil Gavaskar picks between Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha as India’s wicket-keeper for first Test against Australia
There are three big questions in front of Virat Kohli and the Indian team management ahead of the series opening day-night Test match against Australia on Thursday. 1) Who should partner Mayank Agarwal at the top? 2) Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha as the keeper-batsman? 3) Who will replace Ishant Sharma as the third seamer?
Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar gave definite answers to the first two questions. Gavaskar named Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal as India’s openers and preferred Pant over Saha as India’s keeper for the first Test in Adelaide on Thursday.
The former India opener feels the Indian team management should pick an aggressive Pant over a technically sound Saha.
Pant’sa blistering 73-ball 103-run knock in the second warm-up game which also took place under lights should enough for Pant to seal the wicket-keeper-batsman’s spot.
“It is going to be a tough one for the tour selection committee because Rishabh played in all the 4 Test matches four years ago. He also got a hundred and seemed he got under the skin of the Australian players with his chirping behind the stumps.
“...when you just came off a hundred few days earlier, he would be the choice of the management I think,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar said he preferred Pant over a more-accomplished keeper in Saha, as Australian pitches are not so demanding when it comes to keeping wickets.
“When you are playing on pitches where the wicketkeeper has to stand upto the stumps, where the ball turns out a little bit that’s when you tend to take your best wicketkeeper, in which case Wriddhiman Saha would be the obvious choice,” he explained.
“But here, India will having pacers where you can stand behind and have little more time, my feeling is that they will go for Rishabh,” Gavaskar said while previewing the series named after him and Allan Border to be telecast live by Sony Networks.
Both Saha and Pant were given equal opportunities to bat and keep wickets during India’s first two warm-up games leading up to the Test series. While Pant smashed a ton in the pink-ball warm-up game in which Saha had bagged a 22-ball duck in the first innings, the latter had scored a gritty unbeaten 54 in 2nd innings of the first warm-up match to guide India to safety.
Gavaskar meanwhile, batted for Shubman Gill over Prithvi Shaw to open along side Mayank Agarwal in the series. “...India is a little bit shaky at the top of the order. They don’t know who they are going to go with. Mayank Agarwal is of course a certainty. But who’s the other opener -- Shubman Gill or Prithvi Shaw?” said Gavaskar.
“So with uncertainty at the top, they would like to strengthen their batting and so Rishabh Pant will play. I am hoping he (Rishabh) plays at 6 because then that will allow you to pick 5 bowlers to try and get 20 Australian wickets,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)