Wriddhiman Saha or Rishabh Pant? Fielding coach R Sridhar reveals India's first-choice keeper in Tests
Veteran Indian wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha has been a success story behind the stumps for Virat Kohli and Co. in the recently concluded Test series against South Africa. Living up to the 'best in the world' tag given to him by skipper Kohli, Saha successfully replaced Rishabh Pant whose dip in form came as a blessing in disguise for the 35-year-old. Even though Pant was snubbed by Indian selectors for the home series against the Proteas, the promising young talent can still stage his comeback as he continues to fight for a place in the starting eleven.
Both Pant and Saha have been named for the upcoming bilateral Test series against Bangladesh and the Indian team management is expected to deal with a selection headache in picking India's first-choice wicketkeeper for the two-match Test series. Though Pant's shortcomings as India's wicketkeeper behind the stumps have been exposed to some extent lately, his power-hitting approach against any opposition can still strengthen his case of becoming the first-choice keeper for India in Tests. Pant has been a game-changer with the bat and his explosive batting display has helped him emerge as the potential successor of MS Dhoni in white-ball cricket.
'Rishabh is our future and Saha is our present'
As Pant and Saha are expected to compete with each other for a place in the playing eleven, Indian coach R Sridhar gave an interesting reply when he was asked about who should be India's first pick behind the stumps based on skillsets. Speaking to Times of India, the Indian fielding coach said that it will be unfair to compare the duo. “It’s unfair to compare the two as both Saha and Rishabh have their strengths. One is young, while the other is experienced,” Sridhar was quoted as saying by TOI. "Rishabh is our future and Saha is our present and both are doing brilliantly,” he added.
Sridhar also revealed that the Indian team was banking on Saha even though he was out of action for more than 22 months. Saha had to deal with a freak injury before making a successful return to the side in the whites. “No, there were no concerns at all. He was easing into the rigours of international cricket during the West Indies series. He had also played a few games for India ‘A’ before that,” he said. “Once we were playing in India, we brought back Saha. He is our best wicketkeeper and his skills were for all to see during the India-South Africa series,” he added.