Sunil Gavaskar backs Rishabh Pant as India’s first-choice keeper for Australia Tests

Pant scored a sparkling century in the Day-Night warm-up match at the SCG against Australia A.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

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Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar reckons that Rishabh Pant should be India’s first-choice wicketkeeper over Wriddhiman Saha for the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Back in 2018-19, when India won their maiden Test series on Australian soil, Pant was the second-highest run-scorer in the Tests after Cheteshwar Pujara as he scored 350 runs at an average of 58.33.

The southpaw also managed a top score of an unbeaten 159 in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Prior to the 2020-21 edition, Pant has shown incredible form as well, scoring 103 runs off 73 balls in the Day-Night warm-up match against Australia A at the SCG itself.

Gavaskar feels that that apart from his ability with the bat, Pant has also found a way to ruffle a few feathers in the Australia dugout, being talkative from behind the stumps. The veteran also said that India’s shaky top-order might also force the management to go with Pant ahead of Saha.

Rishabh Pant will be the choice of the management, says Gavaskar

“Pant played in all four Tests two years ago and he also got a hundred. He seems to have got under the skin of some of the Australian players with his chirping behind the stumps. Plus, he is coming off a 100 in the practice game, so he will be the choice of the management,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying in Sportskeeda.

“Here, because India will play pacers, you [the keeper] can stand behind and you get that much more time from 15 yards behind the stumps. At the top of the order, India seem to be a little bit shaky, so they will want to strengthen their batting with Pant,” he stated.

However, Gavaskar said that on pitches, which provide turn and bounce and where a keeper needs to stand up, Saha would be the better choice between the two.

“But when you are playing on pitches where the keeper has to stand up to the stumps, where the ball turns around a little bit, that’s when you tend to take your best keeper. In which case, Saha would be the obvious choice,” Gavaskar added.

India’s Test series against Australia gets underway on Thursday, December 17 with the Day-Night pink-ball Test at the Adelaide Oval.