Rishabh Pant Dropped; Wriddhiman Saha to Keep Wickets for 1st Test vs South Africa, Confirms Virat Kohli
India skipper Virat Kohli has confirmed that Wriddhiman Saha will play as the specialist wicketkeeper ahead of Rishabh Pant against South Africa for the series.
On the eve of the series opener at Vizag, Kohli also made it clear that Rohit Sharma will be given enough opportunities at the top of the order. "We are in no hurry with Rohit Sharma as opener. He will be given time and space to find his rhythm and the way he wants to play," said Kohli in the pre-match press conference,.
Virat Kohli also confirmed that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will make a comeback to Tests.
This means Rishabh Pant is unlikely to feature in the playing XI in the first with Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari and Saha completing the lower-middle order.
"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.
Saha last played a Test during the South Africa tour in January 2018. Pant burst on to the scene in his absence and with centuries in England and Australia, became the team's number one wicketkeeper in the longest format.
Of late Pant has been criticised for reckless strokemaking and that may have have been a factor in the team management's decision to start with Saha.
Saha has played 32 Tests, scoring 1164 runs at 30.63.