Veteran gloveman Wriddhiman Saha, in a rather surprising statement, asserted that his rival wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant should start in Tests in England as he has done a good job till now. He also added that KS Bharat was added to the squad due to outside risks than anything else.
Rishabh Pant, thanks to his consistently impactful performances in red-ball cricket, has established himself as one of the key members of the Indian side. Not only is he the highest run-getter for the No.1 ranked India in Tests this year, but also the fourth leading run-getter overall, with 515 runs in six Tests at an average of 64.37. The left-hander hasn’t only taken batting by storm but has been as impressive with the gloves, doing extremely well on some challenging spin tracks in the home Tests against England.
However, that also has meant that Wriddhiman Saha, India's no.1 choice gloveman once, has lost ground and is now no longer making it to the XI unless there's an injury to Pant. Even Saha himself reckons that after Pant’s recent heroics, the young Indian cricketer deserves to walk into the team as the first-choice gloveman in England.
“Rishabh Pant played the last few matches of the World Test Championship, he’s done well and he should be our first-choice keeper in England. I would just wait, and if any opportunity arises, I will give my best. I will keep practising for that one chance,” Saha said, reported HT.
Saha had earlier contracted the novel Coronavirus in Sunrisers Hyderabad's camp during this year’s IPL. As a result, Andhra gloveman KS Bharat was also added to the Indian squad as his cover. However, Saha doesn't see anything wrong with the addition of Bharat and asserted that he was there in the side even during the last series and rather than anything else, he has been picked in the side due to the outside risks, owing to COVID-19.
“I didn’t have COVID-19 during the last series but KS Bharat was still with the team. So what do you say then? Now that I contracted the infection, people are labelling him as my ‘cover’. But I feel they have picked a third keeper bearing in mind the risk outside."
“As we saw, anybody can get the infection from anywhere and two keepers are anyway a must these days. So if one keeper falls sick by any chance, then we will be in a spot of bother. I think that’s the reason why they have decided to travel with the three of us,” he added.
Saha also made it clear that he has taken his exclusion from the XI in a positive manner and is trying to prepare just like he used to earlier, whilst playing in the starting XI.
“I try to be the same irrespective of the situation. Whether I am performing or no, I don’t see any change in myself, no idea if others around me spot anything different. We can only try to perform – sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn’t – and the management takes the call based on all these parameters.
“Practice remains the same, irrespective of whether I am playing or not. I always try to improve, but yes, there is a huge gulf between a practice session and a professional match. It ultimately boils down to who delivers on the bigger stage,” he said.
Saha last played for India in a Test against Australia in Adelaide, where India had succumbed to a terrible loss. Now, India's next assignment will be against New Zealand as they face them in the World Test Championship finale from June 18 onwards at the Ageas Bowl.