India vs South Africa 1st Test: Saha gets the nod ahead of Pant
Visakhapatnam, October 1: Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday (October 1) said Wriddhiman Saha will play ahead of Rishabh Pant in the three-match series against South Africa, beginning here on Wednesday (October 2).
"Yes, Saha is fit and fine to go. He is going to start the series for us. His keeping credentials are for everyone to see. He has done well with the bat whenever he has got a chance. It was unfortunate that he was out with an injury. According to me he is the best keeper the world. With these conditions he starts for us," said Kohli on the eve of the first Test.
"It was unfortunate that he was out with an injury. According to me he is the best keeper the world. With these conditions he starts for us," he added.
#TeamIndia for 1st Test of @Paytm Freedom Series for Gandhi-Mandela Trophy against South Africa.— BCCI (@BCCI) October 1, 2019
Virat Kohli (Capt), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Md Shami#INDvSA
"We felt like Rishabh, given the opportunities, had done well. Although Saha was always going to start but we felt like just let him ease back into things rather than just forcing him into starting immediately.
"...Saha was always the one we would back as a pure keeper in Test cricket. He has done well under pressure situations in the past for us, so it was just about finding the right opportunity and the moment to bring him back in. And you need to be wary in a team environment where you understand when to bring a player back and when to give another guy more opportunities" he reasoned. "I felt for now, it's the right time for Saha to come back and get in to his zone," said Kohli.
Since becoming a part of India squad for the ICC World Cup 2019 as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan, Pant has not really been able to justify his place in the side.
The left-hander had to go through severe criticism for his propensity to throw away wickets at critical juncture and also for not respecting the match situation.
The last straw for Pant was his ordinary effort in the series against the West Indies. From two Tests, Pant made a meagre 58 runs at 19.33 with a highest of 27.
The decision to have Saha keep wickets in the home tests is a clear signal on the kind of wickets that we can expect and therefore, the kind of skills needed. There was never any doubt that Saha is the best keeper in the country, the call was always about Pant and the future— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) October 1, 2019
Saha last played Test cricket for India against South Afriva in Cape Town in early 2018 before a shoulder injury sidelined him.
1 year, 8 months and 23 days later Wriddhiman Saha finally gets redemption, will be keeping in the test match against South Africa.— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) October 1, 2019
All the best @Wriddhipops.
As for Rishab, he's too good a player to be down and out for long!https://t.co/7HPB6E4SdH
Saha has so far played 32 Tests, scoring 1164 runs at 30.63.