Wriddhiman Saha likely to replace Rishabh Pant as first-choice wicketkeeper during South Africa Tests: Reports
New Delhi, Sep 26: Young India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant's form with the bat has become a concern for the team management and the 21-year-old might lose his Test spot to veteran glovesman Wriddhiman Saha in the upcoming series against South Africa.
India will play three Test matches with the Proteas with the opening game starting October 2 in Visakhapatnam. If reports are to be believed then, due to his dwindling form with the bat Pant is no more looks the automatic first-choice as wicketkeeper. Captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri are mulling to bring back Saha, who is better equipped behind the stumps, in the longer format.
A BCCI source was quoted by Times of India as saying, "The selectors are in a mood to give one final chance to Pant in the first Test, but the team management (coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli) wants Saha to play from the start of the series itself."
The team management feels Pant's poor track record with the Decision Review System (DRS) and trouble with wicketkeeping on turning tracks have aggravated the concern for team management. Apparently, the captain and coach want a better-equipped hand behind the stumps.
"The problem is, Pant's lack of success with the bat is hurting his confidence while keeping wickets too. His DRS reviews aren't great. In Indian conditions, on turning wickets, he may struggle. Saha is a far better 'keeper than him, and get a few useful runs lower down the order too," the source was quoted further as saying.
Pant has been drawing flak for failing to grab his chances and getting out to rash shots despite being given a long rope by the Indian team management. The left-handed batsman from Delhi repeated his propensity to throw his wicket away on West Indies tour and didn't seem to have learnt anything from the mistakes during the T20I series against South Africa.
However, the youngster got the backing of former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh who wasn't at all pleased with the unnecessary criticism of the youngster.
"I really don't know what is happening with him (Rishabh). He is facing a lot of criticism which is not needed. Somebody needs to get the best out of him," Yuvraj said on the sidelines of 'The Sports Movement' summit of India On Track organisation. "The people monitoring him, the coach, the captain has to guide him," he added.
Yuvraj, who retired from international cricket earlier this year, said the 21-year-old should be looked after psychologically. "How you get the best out of him is completely based on his character. You need to understand his character, you need to understand his psychology and work according to that.