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Syed Kirmani picks his preferred keeper between Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant

The Indian team has looked at quite a few keeping options in the last one year or so.

Syed Kirmani
Syed Kirmani. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Rishabh Pant has made an impressive entry to international cricket. Seen by many as the legendary MS Dhoni‘s worthy successor, Pant has pretty much justified the hype with his batting. His fearless batting and audacious shots have caught the eyeballs. A century at The Oval against England, two entertaining fifties against Windies at home and a few handy knocks against Australia in the ongoing Test series have more or less proved that he is a capable batsman.

However, the question mark over his wicketkeeping lingers on. In the first innings of the fourth Test in England, he had conceded as many as 23 byes. When the series ended, Pant had conceded an unprecedented 76 byes in six innings in England.  He is currently in the playing eleven in the place of Wriddhiman Saha who is rehabilitating from a shoulder injury.

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Saha had injured his hamstring in the opener of the South Africa series in January 2018, and later missed some part of IPL 2018 owing to a broken thumb. However, it was later revealed that Saha had injured his shoulder that was discovered during the rehabilitation process after the South Africa series. He underwent a successful surgery in Manchester and is currently recovering.

Unlike Pant, Saha has been lauded by the majority for his wicketkeeping. In fact, various sections call him even a better ‘keeper than Dhoni when it comes to technical aspects’. The jury is still out on who should India prefer to keep the wickets in Tests and the latest to give his opinion on the debate is none other than Syed Kirmani, one of India’s most decorated wicketkeepers.

Saha over Pant for Kirmani

While not criticising Pant, Kirmani said the youngster still needs to learn a lot when asked whether the Delhi star has improved after his horror show with the gloves in England.

“I am not going to be very critical about it. He (Pant) has got a long way to go. He is in the learning process. He is into the credal of cricket to start well. He has talent in abundance. As far as his batting and keeping is concerned, all he has to do is have his head on his shoulders for him to go a long way,” Kirmani told CricTracker during an event in Bengaluru.

He further said that he would pick an experienced player when asked about his preference between Pant and Saha. Citing his own example, the former India wicketkeeper said Pant needs to be groomed.

“I would prefer an experienced guy. I would not like to induct a youngster straightaway into the international level. They have to be groomed to first like I was groomed. This is where Pant requires grooming,” Kirmani concluded.

~ Written by Bijoy

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