Wriddhiman Saha will be wicketkeeper for the 1st Test as announced on the eve of Adelaide’s day-night Test starting 17th December against Australia.
Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha did well in the tour games, and the Indian team management is suffering from a selection dilemma of sorts but they finally selected Wriddhiman Saha as keeper despite the former’s ton in 2nd practice game.
Wriddhiman Saha Will Be Played In Day Night Test As It’s More Challenging For Batsmen In Pink Ball Cricket : Vijay Dahiya
Wriddhiman Saha saved India from losing the first warm-up game scoring a gritty knock of unbeaten 54 in the second innings, and Rishabh Pant entertained in the second pink-ball practice match last week with a whirlwind unbeaten 103 off 73 deliveries.
Both Indian captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri though have not spoken about who will be their first-choice wicketkeeper before the announcement was made public. Former India wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya stressed that Rishabh Pant is the better batsman while Wriddhiman Saha is the better gloveman among the two.
Vijay Dahiya, who is also the head talent scout of the Delhi Capitals, admitted that pink-ball cricket poses more challenges to batsmen during the twilight period. He opined that India might be tempted to field Wriddhiman Saha as the seventh batsman.
“It’s very, very important to look at the team combination. There is a possibility that you might go with seven batsmen and four bowlers. Because [in] pink-ball cricket, what happens is that it’s more challenging for the batters at times. So maybe you want to go with that mindset and let’s not forget that it’s the first Test match of the series as well,” Vijay Dahiya told Sportskeeda in an exclusive interview.
Notably, Virat Kohli will head back to India after the conclusion of Adelaide Test to attend the birth of his first child and David Warner is sidelined with a groin injury. Vijay Dahiya added that India would want to capitalize on Virat Kohli’s availability and David Warner’s unavailability in the first Test and start on a winning note.
“But there are other things at stake [as well]. Virat won’t be playing any more Test matches after this. So there is the possibility that India will go out with an all-out mindset and have five specialist bowlers. So if we go with five specialist bowlers, I feel Pant [will be] playing then. And if we go with six batters, then Saha at number 7 and four bowlers,” Dahiya, who played 2 Tests and 19 ODIs, reasoned.
Test cricket is though all about temperament and patience, but there are innumerable times when a lower-middle order batsmen need to accelerate bringing likes of Rishabh Pant in to play. Wriddhiman Saha too can play aggressively as shown in IPL while Rishabh Pant was suffering from loss of form in IPL 2020.
Rishabh Pant Has A Fair Chance, Says Kiran More:
Kiran More, former keeper compared Rishabh Pant to former Australian Adam Gilchrist, and said the 23-year-old is likely to feature in the 4 match Test series owing to his phenomenal record Down Under and his ability to score runs at a rapid pace.
“I think he (Rishabh Pant) has a fair chance. If you look at batting depth, I will go with Rishabh because when we are looking at the second new ball when Rishabh walks in, he is the most dangerous player once he gets going. It’s like Adam Gilchrist batting at number seven,” More, who served as the chief national selector from 2002 to 2006, exclusively told Sportskeeda.
Kiran More pointed out that it’s not difficult to keep wickets in Australia. As a result, he believes that Rishabh Pant is more likely to feature in the XI, especially having scored 350 runs at an average of 58.33 on the 2018-19 tour which India won.
“It’s not difficult to keep wickets in Australia. When you look at the overall wicketkeeping in Australia, ball comes nicely to you, there is good bounce. Only the last one or two days is when the ball bounces and turns. That’s what I am thinking about. So that becomes very comfortable. It’s not like in India [and] subcontinent the ball keeps low or up and down. So I think Rishabh has a fair chance,” More, who played 49 Tests and 94 ODIs, stated.
Vijay Dahiya also pointed out that Australian soil and the pink ball don’t aid much spin.
“Normally when we talk about pink-ball cricket, you don’t get turning wickets…you don’t have that much of a Sun in the first session, and you don’t get dry wickets and all those things. And looking at Australian team combination as well, they are not going to give you a turning wicket,” Dahiya explained.
The four-match Test series begins with a pink-ball day-night game at the Adelaide Oval on December 17. India’s second-ever pink-ball Test will be followed by Tests in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.