Wriddhiman Saha or Rishabh Pant? Team India fielding coach gives decisive answer on first-choice keeper
India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who returned to the Test team in the recently concluded series against South Africa, caught attention with his brilliant work behind the stumps. With Rishabh Pant being dropped to make way for him into the team, questions started circulating on who should be India’s first choice keeper in the longest format. While Pant had impressed in England and Australia tours last year, his recent form has put question marks on his place in the team and Saha seized the opportunity in his absence.
India’s fielding coach R Sridhar was questioned on the same, and in his reply, he described Pant as “the future”. “It’s unfair to compare the two as both Saha and Rishabh have their strengths. One is young, while the other is experienced,” he was quoted as saying by Times of India.
“Rishabh is our future and Saha is our present and both are doing brilliantly,” he said.
Sridhar further went on to add that the team had full faith that the Bengal keeper despite him being on the sidelines for 22 months due to injuries. “No, there were no concerns at all. He was easing into the rigors 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.
Meanwhile, The cut-throat competition for a place in India’s playing XI has not affected Saha’s relationship with his understudy Rishabh Pant as the duo were seen trying to help each other with notes on glovework during the Proteas series. When asked him if he is mentoring Pant and the ever-reticent Saha replied in negative.
“There’s nothing (mentoring) like that. We just discuss normally the way the wicketkeepers discuss. With Sridhar and Pant, we three jointly decide on how to go about our wicketkeeping on a particular type of wicket,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI earlier this month.
“We always observe each other’s wicket-keeping. We work hard in our practice sessions and have a good understanding and co-ordination among ourselves. We always try to point out each other’s mistakes. It’s been going well so far,” he had added.