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Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Draw Was Secondary Option In 4th Test: Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant has become the toast of the cricketing fraternity since playing the match-winning knock of unbeaten 89 against Australia to win the Brisbane Test for India last week.

From comparisons with Ben Stokes’s Headingley heroics to Kusal Perera’s Durban destruction, Rishabh Pant’s innings was compared with the very best of the best by cricket pundits and fans alike.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant: Mindset Was Always To Play Normal Cricket

Shubman Gill’s 91 and Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89 set the tone on the final day of the fourth Test which helped India pull off the highest successful run chase (328) at the Gabba and become the first team after the West Indies to beat Australia at that venue which had become a fortress since 1988.

Rishabh Pant hit the winning runs, a boundary off Josh Hazlewood to finish the match with just 3 overs left to spare, and later picked up the Player of the Match trophy for a truly memorable knock which made the stiff target possible as India clinched the series 2-1 and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the 2nd time in a row in Australia.

Shubman Gill.
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Speaking to renowned journalist Boria Majumdar on the latest episode of Sports Today, Rishabh Pant said he was always focused on going after the target as a draw was never an option in his mind.

“The mindset was always to play normal cricket, even the team management spoke about it in the first innings. Let’s look to score runs, cash in on the loose balls, just stick in there and do whatever you can at that time. The team management’s plan from the beginning of the match was ‘let’s look to win the match’. Even my thinking has always been to win. I just want to win every game, draw is always the secondary option,” Pant said on Sports Today.

Rishabh Pant got a lucky break when the Australian skipper Tim Paine missed a chance to stump the left-hander off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The very next ball he stepped down the track and deposited the ball into the long-on stands, much to the surprise of Nathan Lyon.

Rishabh Pant: If The Ball Lands In My Area Then It Has To Be Hit Out Of Ground

The 23-year-old dashing keeper explained that there was a method behind the madness and he only went after balls which pitched in his hitting zone.

“When you’re looking to leave a ball that’s turning a lot on the pitch then it’s fine but if you’re going to play a shot then chances are that you can miss it because normally the ball doesn’t deviate as much. At that time I thought ‘one ball turned so much and Lyon is such an experienced bowler so he will try to turn one away from the stumps.”

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

“I knew he was going to try and spin one away from the stumps so I was ready to step out and hit him if he bowls a tossed up delivery. Otherwise I hadn’t planned that I was going to step out and look to hit a big shot in any case. But if the ball lands in my area then I think it has to be hit out of the ground,” Pant said.

Rishabh Pant emerged highest run-getter for India and 3rd highest run-scorer in series with 274 runs in 3 Tests averaging 68.5. Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked for the first two Tests in the home series against England next month and it remains to be seen whether the team think tank will play the veteran as a specialist wicketkeeper or include dashing keeper Rishabh Pant after his heroics in Sydney(97) and Brisbane(89*).

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Showed Exemplary Batting Under Pressure : VVS Laxman

Rishabh Pant has remained a part of the Test side, with centuries in England and Australia, but his career-defining innings still eluded him when he came out in the middle of the crease during India’s stiff 328-run chase in the fourth and final Test versus Australia at The Gabba, Brisbane on Tuesday (January 19).

Rishabh Pant, who is used as a keeper-batsman more often during overseas assignments, made a strong case for himself for all formats, and in any conditions, as he displayed his talent fully courtesy his 89 not out in Brisbane win. Thus, it led India to their second straight Test series win on Australian soil (2-1) with a thrilling 3-wicket win in the final Test at Brisbane.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Had Caliber To Win Matches And Showed His Exemplary Batting Under Pressure At Gabba: VVS Laxman

A lot has been said and written about India’s 23-year-old Rishabh Pant ever since he failed to make the most of his regular chances post-MS Dhoni’s sabbatical after the 2019 World Cup. As he was touted to be MS Dhoni’s successor across formats, the left-hander slowly and steadily lost the plot gifting away his wicket too often and was removed from the limited-overs side, following KL Rahul’s growth behind the stumps and fitness issues.

KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant
KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant came out to bat, after a strong foundation provided by opener Shubman Gill (91), with the score 167-3 and remained unbeaten on 83, with 9 fours and 1 six. He timed his chase to perfection and remained undeterred despite Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara’s fall (56).

In the recent edition of the Star Sports show Cricket Connected, VVS Laxman, thus, lavished praise on Pant and stated, “We all knew he had the caliber to win matches, he had all strokes in the book and at the same time he had the ability to hit boundaries and sixes at will of good deliveries. But what he showed at Gabba was just exemplary batting under pressure.”

Rishabh Pant emerged highest run-getter for India and 3rd highest run-scorer in series with 274 runs in 3 Tests averaging 68.5. Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked for the first two Tests in the home series against England next month and it remains to be seen whether the team think tank will play the veteran as a specialist wicketkeeper or include dashing keeper Rishabh Pant after his heroics in Sydney(97) and Brisbane(89*).

Rishabh Pant’s Knock At Gabba Playing High Percentage Shots Can Become A Career-Defining Innings: VVS Laxman

Rishabh Pant was omitted from white ball limited-overs squad in Australia but made it count in Tests with two fifties in consecutive Tests at Sydney and Brisbane. His 97 at Sydney ensured a draw while unbeaten 89 at Brisbane saw India winning the match and series.

He further opined, “Rishabh Pant’s knock at Gabba can become a career-defining innings for him. He was given a promotion and would have been sent with a message to go and play the big shots and to along with the asking run rate. But he went in and batted with maturity, the hurry was not at all seen.”

VVS Laxman,
VVS Laxman. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“The way Nathan Lyon was bowling outside the off-stump and forcing him to play a false shot but he played with patience and whenever he got a chance, he took advantage of that.”

Laxman concluded by saying, “He played high percentage shots and the good thing is that we generally talk that a young player should win the match and not only make a match, and he did that.”

After the series, Rishabh Pant once again made it clear that he doesn’t want to be the next MS Dhoni, but is willing to make an identity of his own in the near future. The left-hander emerged as the third-highest run-getter in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 and Ajinkya Rahane-led India’s most successful batsman with 274 runs at 68.50 with 2 fifties.

Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant India A
Wriddhiman Saha. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Has Matured And Proved Himself: Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha feels Rishabh Pant the batsman redeemed himself spectacularly in Australia and his much-criticized wicket-keeping skills are also improving but the senior keeper wants the youngster to be given some breathing space as “no one learns algebra in class I”.

Wriddhiman Saha, who is considered India’s number one Test wicketkeeper with better technique as the keeper, told PTI in an interview that he does not believe that Rishabh Pant’s heroic show in Australia would close the door for him in the Indian team.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

Wriddhiman Saha Have Friendly Relationship With Rishabh Pant And Help Each Other Whoever Gets Into XI

Rishabh Pant emerged highest run-getter for India and 3rd highest run-scorer in series with 274 runs in 3 Tests.

“You can ask him (Pant), we have a friendly relationship and help each other whoever gets into the XI. Personally, there’s no conflict with him,” Saha said after returning home following the historic Test series win in Australia.

“I dont’ see who is No.1 or 2… Team will give a chance to those who do better. I will continue to do my job. Selection is not in my hands, it’s up to the management.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Wriddhiman Saha was all praise for the 23-year-old dashing left-hander Rishabh Pant, whose 89 not out on the fifth day sealed the match for India at the Gabba for a 2-1 series win.

“No one learns algebra in class I. You always go step by step. He is giving his best and will definitely improve. He has matured and proved himself. In the long run, it augurs well for the Indian team,” he said of Pant who has often been found wanting behind the stumps.

The way he has shown his intent after being sidelined from his favourite T20 and ODI formats was really exceptional. Since the Brisbane show, Rishabh Pant is being compared incessantly with the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni but Wriddhiman Saha said: “MS Dhoni will remain MS Dhoni and everyone has his own identity”.

Wriddhiman Saha Says He Was Unable To Score Runs So Rishabh Pant Got Chance

Wriddhiman Saha failed to score 9 and 4 in the Day/Night Adelaide Test where India were shot out for a record low of 36 and he did not feature in XI in the remaining three matches.

“Anyone can go through a bad phase. A professional player always accepts the highs and lows, be it with form or criticism,” the 36-year-old said.

“I was unable to score runs that’s why Pant got the chance. It’s as simple as that. I always focused on improving my skills…It’s the same approach now,” he said.

He said the series win was “no less than a World Cup triumph” because of the way the team bounced back from 36 all out in Adelaide in 1st Test despite injuries to key players.

“Even though I did not play (in three matches), I enjoyed every moment of it. We faced challenges in putting up 11 players, so it was an outstanding feat, an outstanding team effort. Definitely, it will be one of our greatest series wins,” he said.

Wriddhiman Saha said India may not have known the outstanding depth in their reserve bench had they not faced the crisis situation of several players injuring themselves. Captain Virat Kohli had left after the first Test on paternity leave while likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Hanuma Vihari, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin were injured at various stages of the Test series.

“It was about instilling self-belief and going session by session. The series win last time also played in our minds,” Saha said.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Image Credit: Getty Images).

Wriddhiman Saha also spoke about the leadership of stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane.

“He goes about his job with a cool head. Like Virat, he too has full belief in his players. Unlike Virat, he never shows any excitement. Approach is a bit different, Rahane stays calm always, never loses temper. He knows well how to motivate the players. That is his success mantra.”

Both Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have been picked for the first two Tests in the home series against England next month and it remains to be seen whether the team think tank will play the veteran as a specialist wicketkeeper or include dashing keeper Rishabh Pant after his heroics in Sydney(97) and Brisbane(89*).

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ravindra Jadeja Ruled Out Of First 2 Tests Against England: BCCI

Ravindra Jadeja, a senior veteran all-rounder who dislocated his left thumb on day three of the third Test against Australia on Saturday, has been ruled out of the first two Test games in the upcoming series against England.

Ravindra Jadeja was not able to bowl in Australia’s second innings after a short ball from Mitchell Starc hit him on the gloves, requiring immediate medical attention.

Ravindra Jadeja.
Ravindra Jadeja. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Ravindra Jadeja Out Of First 2 Tests Against England And Will Need 4-6 Weeks Rehabilitation

India will play 4 Tests-2 in Chennai and 2 in Ahmedabad. The limited over series will follow the Test series. India and England will also play 5 T20Is all at Ahmedabad and 3 ODIs in Pune.

“Ravindra Jadeja is out of first two Tests against England. He will need 4-6 weeks minimum to recuperate and complete rehab which rules him out of first 2 tests,” a BCCI source told PTI.
Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)

The left-handed cricketer, who made a valuable unbeaten 28 and took four wickets in the first innings might take a painkiller injection and come out to bat on the final day of the game at SCG as India seek to save the Test chasing a difficult 407 to win.

He scored 57 and took 3 wickets in 1st Test. He averages 85 with bat and 15 with the ball which is remarkable but he will be missed more because several other cricketers in the squad are also out injured.

“He might bat if needed with injection to save the Test,” the source added.

The four-Test series against England starts with a doubleheader in Chennai from February 5.

Rishabh Pant Suffered Elbow Bruise And Wriddhiman Saha Kept Wickets Substituting Him

Rishabh Pant also suffered an elbow bruise will bat, as confirmed by senior player Ravichandran Ashwin. India have been hit by a slew of injuries in the ongoing 4 Test series with senior pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami already flown back home after suffering injuries. Batsman KL Rahul too was ruled out after injuring his left wrist while batting in the nets in Melbourne to add to India’s woes.

Rishabh Pant Injury
Rishabh Pant Injury. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Wriddhiman Saha kept for Rishabh Pant in Australia’s second innings after the latter was hit on the elbow by Pat Cummins while batting on day three. Both Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant were taken for scans but fortunately for India, the wicketkeeper’s injury is not as serious as Ravindra Jadeja’s.

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Is 1st Visiting Batsman To Score 25+ Runs In 9 Consecutive Innings In Australia

Rishabh Pant, Indian wicket-keeper batsman has set a unique batting record in Australia by becoming the first visiting batsman to score over 25 runs in nine consecutive innings.

Rishabh Pant went past Wally Hammond (England), Rusi Surti (India) and Viv Richards (West Indies), who scored 25+ runs in eight consecutive innings.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credits: Twitter

Rishabh Pant Crosses 400 Run Mark In Australia

During the third day’s play in the ongoing third Test between India and Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Rishabh Pant surpassed another milestone as he crossed the 400-run mark in the country. Playing his ninth innings in Australia, he now averages over 58 in the country. His only century in Australia (159*) came during the Sydney Test of 2019 in the historic maiden Test series win in Australia.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The wicket-keeper walked in to bat at 142/4 after the run out of Hanuma Vihari and immediately counterattacked. He was hit on his elbow by a bumper, and post that blow, he did not look comfortable. The youngster departed in the 88th over for a 67-ball 36, with four fours to his name.

Rishabh Pant Dropped Two Catches Which Should Have Been Taken: Ricky Ponting

Overlooked for the first Test at Adelaide Oval, Rishabh Pant replaced Wriddhiman Saha for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne after India registered lowest ever score of 36 in Adelaide. He contributed in India’s win by scoring a vital 29 in the first innings, a knock that played a small part in India’s memorable win at the venue.

However, the southpaw has been under fire and criticism for his shoddy glovework. Earlier in the ongoing Sydney Test, he dropped Will Puckovski twice as the debutant went on to register his maiden fifty.

Ricky Ponting, IPL
Ricky Ponting, IPL Image Credit: AuGetty Images.

Australian legend Ricky Ponting, who is also incidentally Rishabh Pant’s coach at Delhi Capitals (DC) in the IPL, criticized the southpaw for his wicketkeeping, stating that no keeper has dropped as many catches since his debut.

“The one’s (dropped catches) today are two that should be taken, simple as that. It’s probably lucky for Rishabh that Pucovski didn’t go on and make a big hundred or a double hundred and looking at the wicket, it looks like an unbelievable surface,” Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.

India were dismissed for 244 in reply to Australia’s 338. Australia are 81/2 in 2nd innings. Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja were hit while batting on the 3rd day of Sydney Test and were subsequently taken for scans to determine the nature of the injury. While Rishabh Pant was hit on the left elbow, Ravindra Jadeja was hit on the left thumb but both of them batted with a bandage.

Sanju Samson, India A
Sanju Samson (Image Credit: Google)

Sanju Samson Dreams To Represent India In Tests

Sanju Samson, wicket-keeper batsman has said his dream is to represent India in Test cricket. He has played seven T20Is for India totalling only 83 runs averaging a pathetic 11.85 but is yet to play in Test matches or ODIs for the Men In Blue.

The Rajasthan Royals star who scored 375 runs in 14 IPL 2020 games realizes he would need to be patient and wait for his opportunity to play the longest format of the game.

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson. Image Credit: Twitter.

Sanju Samson: Test Cricket Is Biggest Challenge And Dream To Represent India In Tests Too

Sanju Samson feels a proper cricketer needs to play Test cricket to prove himself while speaking to Mid-Day.

“Test cricket is the biggest challenge. If you want to be a proper cricketer, you have to play Test cricket. My dream has always been to represent my country in Tests. But, I also realize that it’s always one step at a time, so slowly and patiently I will wait for that to happen.” said Sanju Samson.

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson. Image Credit: IPL.

He also insisted that although batting has been his priority for the past few years but he has shown his worth as wicket-keeper and fielder too. The Kerala captain feels the role of a fielder has given him more dimension as a cricketer. He pulled off a sensational fielding effort during Australia’s innings in the 3rd T20I when he leapt full length to save a certain six. Earlier against New Zealand too he had pulled off a sensational fielding effort to save a certain six in the fifth T20I at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

“I want to score as many runs as possible. Batting is my priority. Across the last seven or eight years, I have not only played as a wicketkeeper but also as a regular fielder. This has given me more dimensions as a cricketer. I am ready for any role, batting, wicketkeeping or fielding,” added Samson.

Sanju Samson played three T20Is against Australia recently in 2020 but could only manage 48 runs scoring 23, 15 and 10 in the 3 T20Is. The 26-year-old will now be seen in action in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy commencing January 10 where he is going to lead Kerala.

Sanju Samson: Every Sportsman Should Experience Bubble Feeling

Playing in recent times in bio-bubbles has taken a toll on the players, but Sanju Samson feels every sportsman should experience bio-bubble. However, he said that he connected with his inner self while being in a bubble and was able to think a lot about his game as living in bio bubble proved a blessing in disguise to him.

“I think every sportsman should experience that bubble feeling. We always tend to shy away from connecting with our inner selves in normal times. But living in a bubble was a blessing in disguise for me. I got a lot of free time so that I could read and meditate more and also think about my game and devise ways to improve it.” said Samson.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credits: Twitter

Sanju Samson will have to pull up his socks if he wants to play for India in Tests. The 26-year-old averages 37.64 in 55 first-class games with 10 tons. The likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant are clearly ahead of him in the pecking order, but Sanju Samson still has time on his hand to improve upon his first-class numbers.

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Enjoyed Every Bit Of Banter With Matthew Wade

Rishabh Pant, Indian wicketkeeper who was engaged in some banter with Australian opening batsman Matthew Wade in the second session of Day 3 in Boxing Day Test, revealed why he did not respond to banter from the Australian opener Matthew Wade.

Rishabh Pant admitted that he enjoyed every bit of banter with Matthew Wade as he said that the Australia batsman was looking for some sort of discussion or banter to help him concentrate more while batting. Rishabh Pant also revealed that he didn’t want to give the opener to concentrate more so he chose to not respond to the banter.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

Rishabh Pant: Matthew Wade Looking For Banter To Concentrate More

Rishabh Pant, as usual, was extremely talkative from behind the wickets on Monday as he was encouraging the India bowlers constantly throughout the day’s play.

“You’re looking at yourself on the big screen again? Very funny watching yourself on the screen,” Wade was caught on stump-mic saying.

Matthew Wade

“I enjoyed every bit of that but I think Wade was probably looking for some sort of discussion or banter so that he could concentrate more, but I didn’t want to give that to him,” Rishabh Pant said.

At some point in the 2nd Test, a visibly frustrated opener Matthew Wade chirped back at Rishabh Pant, engaging in a bit of banter with the young wicketkeeper. Matthew Wade certainly wasn’t impressed as Rishabh Pant was giggling whenever the Australia batsmen played and missed delivery or were in a bit of trouble to keep up with the Indian bowling attack.

Rishabh Pant: Not Getting A Chance In First Test Part And Parcel Of Game

Rishabh Pant did not get a chance in 1st Test where Wriddhiman Saha was preferred ahead of him for technical reasons surprising many as Rishabh Pant hit a ton in the warm-up game just before 1st Test. But after the Adelaide debacle and Wriddhiman Saha’s failure, he got a chance in 2nd Test and scored 29 in 1st innings.

“I have been training well, practicing well but not getting a chance in the first Test is a part and parcel of the game. It is good to back on the side and try to do well for the team. Keeping in Australia has been good so far and I am working on opening my right and left leg to adjust to the bounce. The key is to give yourself a little more space against Ashwin and Jadeja,” Pant added.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

India lost the 1st Test at Adelaide under Virat Kohli when they squandered the advantage of first-innings lead by registering their lowest Test score of 36 in second innings.

India, however, avenged the loss by winning at Melbourne by similar result 8 wickets after stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant century and excellent bowling performances by Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Ravichandran Ashwin. Umesh Yadav was wicketless in 1st innings but picked up a wicket in second innings before limping off the field in the middle of 4th over.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant’s Inclusion Won’t Justify Wriddhiman Saha’s Omission: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra, former Indian opener was of the opinion that if the Indian team management opt to play Rishabh Pant as the wicket-keeper in the Melbourne Test, they will not be able to justify the decision to Wriddhiman Saha.

He made this observation while talking about the wholesale changes India is likely to make for the second Test in a video shared on his Facebook page.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra (Image Credit: Facebook)

Aakash Chopra Fails To Understand Ravindra Jadeja’s Inclusion Personally As Hanuma Vihari Hasn’t Done Anything Wrong

Aakash Chopra started by at first talking about the rumours doing the rounds that India might go in with five bowlers for the Boxing Day Test with Ravindra Jadeja added as the second spinner besides Ravichandran Ashwin.

The renowned commentator questioned this change, as India lost the Adelaide Test due to batting failure in 2nd innings and the Australians are overly reliant on a couple of batsmen – Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne in particular with David Warner injured.

“The news coming in is that Ravindra Jadeja will get the chance and India will go in with five bowlers. I don’t understand it personally because your problem is not the bowling. You lost because of the batting and the bowling is going very well.”

“You are able to do with four bowlers. I agree Shami is not there but you should see the opposition batting also. They are dependent a lot on Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.”

Ravindra Jadeja,
Ravindra Jadeja. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Aakash Chopra wants India to persist with Hanuma Vihari as a sixth batsman, contrary to what certain reports are suggesting as he didn’t do anything wrong and even struck an unbeaten 104 off 194 balls in a warm-up game.

“I will still say that India should play six proper batsmen and Hanuma Vihari should definitely play. But it has come from the sources that Jadeja will play and Hanuma Vihari will go out.”

Aakash Chopra reasoned Andhra batsman Hanuma Vihari has performed decently in the limited opportunities he has got.

“No one knows what Hanuma Vihari has done wrong. He has been doing okay in the last little while. He had scored a fifty in New Zealand and a century in the warm-up game. So, it is not that his form is very bad.”

Ravindra Jadeja has played 49 Tests and averages around 35 with bat and 24 with a ball whereas Hanuma Vihari has played only 10 Tests and averages 33.88 with bat and taken only 5 wickets averaging 36 with the ball.

Aakash Chopra’s Views On Rishabh Pant Replacing Wriddhiman Saha

Aakash Chopra feels Wriddhiman Saha has not done much wrong to merit being dropped from XI for 2nd Test.
Aakash Chopra observed Rishabh Pant is likely to replace him to strengthen the Indian batting lineup. He highlighted Virat Kohli’s absence as he returns home and India opting to go for five bowlers might necessitate the southpaw’s inclusion.

“Wriddhiman Saha will probably be shown the way out and Rishabh Pant will be brought in. It could be because you need a little more cushion in the batting because Kohli has left and you are also looking at leaving out Vihari and play with five batsmen, so the sixth batsmen who is a keeper, should be a better batsman.”

Aakash Chopra questioned what explanation the team management can give to Wriddhiman Saha in case he has to make way for Rishabh Pant.

“So you will play Rishabh Pant there. But what will you say to Wriddhiman Saha?”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credits: Twitter

Aakash Chopra concluded that India making wholesale changes for the Melbourne Test might suggest that they are on the backfoot after the first Test’s debacle where the team registered lowest ever Test score of 36.

“If you make so many changes after one match, it just shows one thing that you they have pressed the panic button,” Aakash Chopra stated.

While it might be slightly unfair to wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, the Indian team will have to go with Rishabh Pant as the wicket-keeper for the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. With the Indian batting coming up short in the Adelaide Test becoming a major concern and Virat Kohli also unavailable, all possible efforts will have to be made to strengthen  India’s batting efforts in upcoming Tests.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

MSK Prasad Backs Rishabh Pant For Remainder Of India-Australia Test Series

Rishabh Pant would be the better choice as keeper for the remaining three Test matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy according to the former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.

Wriddhiman Saha’s failure in the Adelaide Test where he scored 9 and 4 has fueled the debate on who should be India’s wicket-keeper batsman for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne which starts December 26 against Australia who are 1-0 up in the 4 Test series.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

Committee Was Clear That Rishabh Pant Will Be First Choice Wicket Keeper In Australia Or England: MSK Prasad

MSK Prasad pointed out that India cannot compromise on batting strength to have a ‘specialist keeper’ in the team as the selection committee was clear that Rishabh Pant will be a first-choice keeper in English or Australian conditions unlike in India where there is no need of superior batting prowess after number six slot.

News agency PTI quoted him as saying: “Look, our committee was clear that Rishabh Pant will be our first-choice keeper in places like England and Australia. Only when we are looking at matches in India where you don’t need batting after number six most times, you can have a specialist keeper.”

MSK Prasad added that Rishabh Pant’s form going to the Test series as he scored a century in pink-ball practice game gives him an edge over Wriddhiman Saha.

He further stated: “I believe Rishabh has worked on his fitness issues during the past month and looked in good touch during the pink ball practice game. So I would agree with the team management if they give Rishabh a go for the next three Tests.”

MSK Prasad.
MSK Prasad. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Questions were raised over Wriddhiman Saha’s selection over Rishabh Pant for the first Test at Adelaide despite the latter’s blistering hundred in the second practice game at Sydney. Rishabh Pant scored 103 unbeaten from 73 balls.

Rishabh Pant Has A Superior Batting Average Than Wriddhiman Saha

36-year-old Wriddhiman Saha managed only 9 and 4 in the two innings at Adelaide. He played a loose stroke to be dismissed in the second innings as India registered lowest Test score of 36 when someone was needed to occupy the crease and play long innings. To make matters worse, he also dropped a couple of tough chances behind the stumps besides failing in both innings.

The argument against Rishabh Pant has been that his wicket-keeping skills are not yet up to the mark. However, his Test batting record is much superior to Wriddhiman Saha.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

While Wriddhiman Saha averages 29.09 from 38 Tests, young Rishabh Pant has an average of 38.76 from 13 Test matches. Further, Rishabh Pant has a Test hundred at the warm-up game at Sydney, and also managed to get under the skin of the Aussies during the 2018-19 series with his cheeky comments behind the stumps. He registered 350 runs averaging 58.33 in that 4 match Test series.

Australia vs India 2020-21: Wriddhiman Saha To Be Benched; Shubman Gill And Mohammed Siraj Set To Make Debut In MCG Test- Reports
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, Image Credit: Getty Images.

Australia vs India 2020-21: Wriddhiman Saha To Be Benched; Shubman Gill And Mohammed Siraj Set To Make Debut In MCG – Reports

As Team India captain Virat Kohli will be missing in the Test squad for the remaining three Test matches against Australia, India is looking to enter with a strong batting line up following their embarrassing defeat in the first Test. The visitors will want to redeem in the second Test which will be hosted by Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

As per reports in India Today, Team India will go with four changes in the playing XI, which will played in pink-ball Test in Adelaide.  Wriddhiman Saha is likely to replace with Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill will make his Test debut while KL Rahul will replace the skipper. Mohammed Shami, who has fractured his bowling arm, will be replaced with Mohammed Siraj.

Four changes in India’s playing XI:

Australia vs India 2020-21: Wriddhiman Saha To Be Benched; Shubman Gill And Mohammed Siraj Set To Make Debut In MCG - Reports 1
Team India. Image Credit: BCCI.

The wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha failed with the bat across the innings, scoring nine and four runs respectively. Although he had impressed with his stumping in the second innings, India need more support with the bat. Thus, Rishabh Pant, who had scored a century in the last tour, will be swooped in the playing XI.

Prithvi Shaw, whose technical flaws have been exposed by the Australian pacer, will be benched while in-form Shubman Gill, who had played sublime knocks in the warm-up games. On the other hand, KL Rahul is expected to get in place of Virat Kohli though at which position he will bat is not yet decided.

Australia vs India 2020-21: Wriddhiman Saha To Be Benched; Shubman Gill And Mohammed Siraj Set To Make Debut In MCG - Reports 2
Injured Mohammed Shami. Image Credit: Twitter.

On Sunday, Mohammed Shami picked up the injury during the second innings of India got the nasty blow in his right arm off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling. He left the field and was declared retired hurt. Mohammed Siraj, who was taken as the backup bowler, is likely to make a debut in MCG ground.

Meanwhile, Australia handed India a humiliating defeat in the pink-ball Test which was over in three days after a dramatic batting collapse for Virat Kohli & Co. in their second innings. They will be looking to win the second match to clinch the victory in the second Test to clinch the victory in the Test series.

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