Pragyan Ojha backs Wriddhiman Saha as India's first-choice wicketkeeper ahead of Rishabh Pant

Pragyan Ojha backs Wriddhiman Saha as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper ahead of Rishabh Pant

The debate has reignited again after Pant dropped two catches on Day 1 of the Sydney Test.

Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant
Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Rishabh Pant’s blunders behind the wickets on Day 1 of the ongoing third Test match of the four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy at SCG has once again raised questions on his selection in the Playing XI ahead of Wriddhiman Saha. It is a notion that Pant is the first-choice wicketkeeper for India in overseas conditions due to his ability to play an impactful innings with the bat down the order.

However, many experts believe that Saha should always be selected ahead of him both overseas and home as in Test cricket, it is important to have a specialized wicketkeeper who can capitalize on the catching, run-out, and stumping chances. Pragyan Ojha‘s opinion is not different either as he briefly explained why Saha should be Team India’s first-choice wicketkeeper and not Rishabh Pant.

“That catch dropped by Rishabh Pant…I think India had the plan right [against Pucovski], they bombed him. But if you drop those catches, especially on a wicket that is so good to bat on and a day 1 wicket then things are totally different [from what was planned],” Ojha said while speaking to Sports Today.

“That’s the reason I said Wriddhiman Saha was very important. He’s the No.1 wicketkeeper for you. You have to back him. You know always – the process. Yes, Rishabh Pant is a brilliant batsman but taking catches, getting those 50-50 chances, stumpings, everything behind the stumps. Those things are also important especially when you’re playing against sides like Australia,” he added.

It’s disheartening to see Pant is not learning from his mistakes, says Deep Dasgupta

In the first innings of the third Test, Rishabh Pant gave two lifelines to Australia’s debutant opening batsman Will Pucovski. In the last ball of the 22nd over of the opening day’s play, Pant couldn’t hold on to a sharp chance off Ravi Ashwin’s bowling. Will got an outside edge to a full-length delivery by Ashwin but much to the agony of the visitors, Pant dropped an easy catch.

This was followed by the youngster dropping Pucovski again three overs later but this time off the fast bowler Mohammed Siraj. Pucovski had played a bad shot on the last ball of the 26th over and the visitors were confident of sending the opener back to the pavilion but Rishabh Pant again failed to get hold of the ball. Riding his luck, the debutant went on to play a decent knock of 62 runs.

Contrary to Pragyan Ojha, despite Pant’s poor performance behind the stumps, former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta stated that though it is disheartening to see Pant repeating the same mistakes while donning the gloves, he will back the youngster as he has a bright future.

“I don’t think he [Saha] was shown the door. I think if they have a policy of playing Rishabh Pant away from home, Wriddiman at home I can understand. So I’m still going to stick by Rishabh playing this Test match. But what the sad thing is, he’s repeating the same mistakes.

“It’s disheartening to see that he is not learning [from his mistakes]. I would still back him. I would still back the idea behind picking Rishabh and I hope he improves before it’s too late,” Deep Dasgupta said.