Reports: Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri in favour of playing Wriddhiman Saha ahead of Pant in the first Test
Who will be picked in the playing XI? Rishabh Pant or Saha?
Updated - Sep 26, 2019 2:48 pm
Team India is preparing for the first Test of the three-match series against South Africa to be played in Visakhapatnam from October 2. The last time these two teams played Test cricket in India was in 2015 and the visitors lost the series by 3-0, including a score of 79 in Nagpur, which is the lowest Test score by a touring team in India.
This Test series will be a part of the ICC World Test Championship and will mark the start of the home season for the Virat Kohli-led side. The Indian team management has a lot to think about the final XI for the series opener given that they have lost Jasprit Bumrah to an injury and need to make a choice as to who will keep wickets in the match- Rishabh Pant or Wriddhiman Saha.
Opinions differ between selectors and captain-coach
As per reports, the selectors wish to give another chance to Rishabh Pant, despite his failure to score big in the two Tests against the West Indies. Even the chief selector MSK Prasad had anointed Pant as the first-choice keeper across formats for India.
However, the team management comprising of captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri feels that Wriddhiman Saha should be given a place from the first Test match in Visakhapatnam from the start. The matches will be played on turning pitches and Saha is inarguably one of the best wicketkeepers in the world.
“The selectors are in a mood to give one final chance to Pant in the first Test, but the team management (Shastri and Kohli) wants Saha to play from the start of the series itself,” a source was quoted as saying by Times of India.
“The problem is, Pant’s lack of success with the bat is hurting his confidence while keeping wickets too. His DRS reviews aren’t great. In Indian conditions, on turning wickets, he may struggle. Saha is a far better ‘keeper than him, and get a few useful runs lower down the order too,” the source further said.
Pant has been enigmatic in the red-ball format with centuries against England and Australia away from home and a couple of 92s against West Indies at home, but his tendency to throw away his wickets has brought him under criticism despite being backed by some of the former cricketers.