India will play four Test matches against Australia.(REUTERS)
India will play four Test matches against Australia.(REUTERS)

India vs Australia: Virat Kohli should take advantage of Steve Smith and Warner’s absence feels Farokh Engineer

Interestingly, while many feel that Rishabh Pant is the one for the future when it comes to keeping wickets, Engineer feels that Parthiv Patel should be the first-choice keeper in Tests.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 28, 2018 01:11 PM IST

Former India wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer feels that this is India’s best chance of winning a series in Australia as the hosts will definitely miss the services of Steve Smith and David Warner — banned for their role in the Sandpaper Gate fiasco in South Africa in March. Engineer believes that with an in-form Virat Kohli leading the ship for India, this is their series for the taking.

“Australia has got two big names missing… (Steven) Smith and (David) Warner. When you take out two big names, the team is weakened considerably. India will never have a better chance of beating Australia,” Engineer was quoted as saying by Sportstar on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of the 1886 Trophy at the Parsee Gymkhana on Monday.

“We should make the most of the opportunity. India is playing very good cricket. We have a got a great captain Virat Kohli, who is doing extremely well. We have got an all-round side. We have got good pace bowlers, good spinners. Let’s take advantage of that and beat Australia at home.”

Interestingly, while many feel that Rishabh Pant is the one for the future when it comes to keeping wickets, Engineer feels that Parthiv Patel should be the first-choice keeper in Tests while Pant can keep in the limited-overs format.

“Unfortunately, we produce batsmen-keepers these days and not wicketkeeper-batsmen. In my time, you had to be a wicketkeeper first. You cannot let it slide down. Even if you score big runs, but drop catches, it will cost you 200 runs. You have to be a wicketkeeper first.

“I have seen one or two wicketkeepers. Pant was trying to play a reverse sweep even before he could get his eyes on the ball. He was out. Get your eyes in first. You don’t need to take chance,” he pointed.

“Pant has shown a lot of promise in batting. Parthiv is still fit. Rishabh will be my choice for one-dayers, for Tests it will be Parthiv, although he is 35.”

Engineer also spoke his mind and took a dig at the current crop of selectors led by MSK Prasad. “Who are your national selectors? Have they played much cricket? Do they deserve to be the national selectors? You have to play at a highest level, so that you know the game inside out. No point appointing the selectors politically,” he said.

He went on to add that he would want someone like Dilip Vengsarkar to return as the chief selector as the person in charge should command respect. “For me, the chairman of selectors is Dilip Vengsarkar. I will bring him back. He has played everywhere and there should be people like Mohinder (Amarnath), Kapil Dev… I don’t know if they have time, but you need such people who know the game and has played the game. People who have played one or two Test matches, should not be made selectors. Their associations represent them and that becomes political,” he signed off.

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