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‘You are playing with the career of Wriddhiman Saha’ – Sandeep Patil questions Rishabh Pant’s selection

Pant, however, had a forgettable series with the bat as he managed a mere 60 runs across four innings in New Zealand.

Sandeep Patil and Wriddhiman Saha
Sandeep Patil and Wriddhiman Saha. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Questions continue to galore on Team India’s decision to slot-in Rishabh Pant as the first-choice wicketkeeper over Wriddhiman Saha in the recently-concluded two-match Test series against New Zealand 

Saha was India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in all the five home Tests against South Africa and Bangladesh where Virat Kohli and several other members of the team hailed the Bengal keeper as the ‘best in the world’.

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But Pant’s record in overseas conditions and the team management’s thought process that the Delhi cricketer is a better keeper against the pacers condemned Saha to the bench, something that hasn’t gone down well with former Indian cricketer and chairman of selectors, Sandeep Patil.

Sandeep Patil questions Team India’s selection committee

Patel thinks that Saha should be India’s first-choice keeper, alleging that the management is playing with the latter’s career in the garb of promoting the southpaw.

“You are promoting Rishabh Pant, but playing with the career of Wriddhiman Saha. Saha will always be my first choice as a wicketkeeper simply because you need experience and he is more experienced” Patil was quoted as saying by mid-day.

Patil gave instances of how Saha has played match-saving innings in crucial situations for India, citing the example of his epic 104-run knock in Gross Islet back in 2016 where he accumulated more than 300 runs with Ashwin.

“Saha has also always rescued the team; so why are you taking away his batting confidence? I know what Saha is capable of; I was in the West Indies when he scored that hundred,” he added.

Saha lost his place in the Test side following an unfortunate injury during the 2018 South African tour. In his absence, Pant emerged as India’s first-choice keeper after he racked up hundreds in England and Australia. Saha was selected for last year’s tour of the West Indies but didn’t get a game as India continued with Pant.

But, Pant’s form coupled with his atrocious keeping, paved way for Saha’s return in the home season where Virat Kohli, as mentioned earlier, said he was the ‘best in the world”

“He’s played well for us whenever he’s got a chance, with the bat also, and it was unfortunate that he was out for such a long period because of an injury, and according to me he’s the best keeper in the world, so in these [subcontinental] conditions, with what he’s done in the past, he starts for us,” Kohli had said. Pant, however, had a forgettable series with the bat as he managed a mere 60 runs across four innings.

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