Wriddhiman Saha will remain India's No.1 wicket-keeper despite Parthiv Patel’s stunning comeback to the team according to Chief selector of the Indian cricket team MSK Prasad. The selector also praised vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and said that Ravichandran Ashwin has become a dependable batsman.
Parthiv made a stunning 42 and 67* in his comeback Test after almost eight years, but he seemed a little rusty with the gloves. He missed few catches that prompted chief selector MSK Prasad to make a statement in favor of Saha.
"Parthiv's statistics speak volumes about the way he has performed for Gujarat in the last few years. He has been very good with the bat, and more importantly, Parthiv's glove work is much better than before. But Saha remains our No. 1 keeper," Prasad told The Times of India during a Ranji Trophy game in Chennai.
Ajinkya Rahane's struggles against England continued as his poor run of form extended to a six-ball duck in the first innings of the third Test in Mohali. He has scored a mediocre 63 runs from five innings in the ongoing series so far. But Prasad continued backing the Mumbaikar by calling him an ‘outstanding’ player.
"Did you watch the stunner that Ajinkya Rahane took at slip? His contribution on the field has just been outstanding, and I am not worried about his batting form," the former Andhra-wicketkeeper mentioned.
Hailing Ashwin as a dependable batsman, Prasad said, "Ashwin is no longer a bowler, but a dependable batsman. His timing is so perfect that people mistake him for VVS Laxman. Ashwin's batting makes other players feel more relaxed in the dressing room.”
"Ashwin always shares his knowledge. He has watched Jayant from close quarters and told me to back him. The hallmark of this Indian team is that they are ready to help each other and revel in each other's success.”
Despite many players picking up injuries at some point during the season, Prasad was full of praise for the replacements who have stepped up to fill their boots effectively.
"If you look at the one-day series against New Zealand, we played with our second XI. That clearly shows that our bench strength has been able to adapt well and perform as per expectations. Our primary focus (as selectors) is to develop that aspect in the current team as there is not much tinkering we can do to a team which is more or less set," he said.
Before concluding the former India keeper, who played six Tests and 17 One-day matches for India, praised Delhi-wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, by hailing him as ‘an exciting prospect’ for the future.
"Rishabh is an exciting youngster who plays attacking cricket. He is having a great maiden season, but I believe everyone should come through the system. Rishabh is someone who is definitely under the radar,” Prasad said.