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Ricky Ponting, IPL 2019, DC vs SRH, Feroz Shah Kotla
Ponting aghast over poor surface. Photo Credit: BCCI/IPL.
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Ricky Ponting Finds Rishabh Pant’s Exclusion From Adelaide Test Surprising

Ricky Ponting found Rishabh Pant’s exclusion from the Playing XI for 1st Test match surprising enough. Ricky Ponting served as the coach of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals where Rishabh Pant is a part of the squad.

The Australian ex-skipper has seen the 23-year-old for the previous two years at Delhi Capitals and said he was shocked at his omission in the first ongoing day-night Test match.

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Ricky Ponting: Rishabh Pant Is A Terrific Young Player, Has An X-Factor With Bat, So It Was Surprising To Not See Him Picked

Virat Kohli revealed the Playing XI, which finally lifted the speculations over India’s opening combination on the eve of the first Test between India and Australia in Adelaide.

In the presence of four specialized openers in the team consisting of likes of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, the openers selected were Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, with the 20-year-old Prithvi Shaw’s inclusion being one of the most discussed topics as he not showed form and lacked consistency both in IPL 2020 and the two practice games.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

The other big revelation was India’s wicketkeeper. Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant were vying for a sport and it was believed that India would give Rishabh Pant a go-ahead, considering his 73-ball century against Australia A in the pink-ball warm-up game in Sydney. However, India opted to go with comparatively better technically correct gloveman Wriddhiman Saha, which surprised many including former Australia captain Ricky Ponting.

“I’m surprised [that Rishabh Pant wasn’t picked]. I think he’s a terrific young player, X-factor about him with the bat. Probably, not as good a keeper as [Wriddhiman] Saha and that’s probably the reason they’ve left him out,” Ponting said while commentating on Channel 7.

Rishabh Pant had a moderate IPL 2020 where he struck his only fifty in the final where his team Delhi Capitals lost to finish runners-up. He scored 343 runs averaging 31.18 at a strike rate of only 113.95 which was low according to his standards. He had strike rates of above 130 every season and in the last 3 years, his strike rate was above 160.

Rishabh Pant had a successful Australian tour in 2018-19 when the team was victorious by amassing 350 runs averaging 58.33 in 4 games.

Ricky Ponting: Australians Will Target Prithvi Shaw’s Tendency To Leave Gap Between Bat And Pad

Ricky Ponting, who has also worked with Prithvi Shaw at Delhi Capitals, had pointed out that the tendency to leave a gap between bat and pad is probably the only chink in his armour and Australia would be looking to exploit it.

“If he does have a chink in his armour it’s the ball which does come back into him,” Ricky Ponting said after Shaw defended Starc’s first ball, which was pitched on a good length and went on with the angle.

Prithvi Shaw.
Prithvi Shaw. Credits: Twitter

“He’s very comfortable playing the ball away from his body. He does get his head in line with the ball but he doesn’t commit his front foot to the line of the ball and quite often leaves a big gap between bat and pad and that’s where the Aussies will target,” Rickt Ponting added as Starc began his run up to bowl the ball that would eventually get him Shaw’s wicket.

Ricky Ponting was also spot on with his prediction for the young Prithvi Shaw, who endured a second-ball duck in the series opener in Adelaide. Prithvi Shaw scored only 228 runs in 13 games averaging a pathetic 17.53 in IPL 2020.

Prithvi Shaw was clean bowled while trying to defend a delivery from pacer Mitchell Starc, which penetrated through the gap between his bat and pads. He was dismissed in 2nd ball of the innings but India scored 244 whereas Australians are reeling at 79/5 in the 2nd day of the 1st Test.

Wriddhiman Saha, Indian
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)
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Australia vs India 2020-21: Wriddhiman Saha To Don Gloves For 1st Test As Speculation Ends

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
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

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.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credits: Twitter

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.

Kiran More
Kiran More (Image Credit: Google)

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.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Sunil Gavaskar Reckons India Will Prefer Rishabh Pant And Shubman Gill For Adelaide Test

Sunil Gavaskar, legendary former Indian skipper gave definite answers to the two persistent questions of openers and preferred wicketkeeper arising ahead of 1st test at Adelaide.

Sunil Gavaskar named Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal as India’s openers and preferred Rishabh Pant over Wriddhiman Saha as India’s keeper for the first day-night Test in Adelaide on Thursday.

Sunil Gavaskar,
Sunil Gavaskar. Credits: DNA

Sunil Gavaskar: Rishabh Pant Would Be Choice Of Team Management

The former Indian opener feels the Indian team management should pick an aggressive Rishabh Pant who scored a ton against Australia A over a technically sound Wriddhiman Saha.

Rishabh Pant’s quickfire entertaining 73-ball 103-run knock in the second innings of second warm-up practice game which also took place under lights should be enough for him to seal the wicketkeeper-batsman’s spot, feels the former Indian opener.

“It is going to be a tough one for the tour selection committee because Rishabh played in all the 4 Test matches four years ago. He also got a hundred and seemed he got under the skin of the Australian players with his chirping behind the stumps.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Sunil Gavaskar said he preferred aggressive batsman Rishabh Pant over a more-accomplished keeper in Wriddhiman Saha, as Australian pitches are not so demanding when it comes to keeping wickets.

“When you are playing on pitches where the wicketkeeper has to stand upto the stumps, where the ball turns out a little bit that’s when you tend to take your best wicketkeeper, in which case Wriddhiman Saha would be the obvious choice,” he explained.

“But here, India will having pacers where you can stand behind and have little more time, my feeling is that they will go for Rishabh,” Gavaskar said while previewing the series named after him and Allan Border to be telecast live by Sony Networks.

Sunil Gavaskar Preferred Shubman Gill Over Prithvi Shaw As 2nd Opener

Sunil Gavaskar meanwhile, batted for Shubman Gill over Prithvi Shaw to open alongside Mayank Agarwal in the series. He feels Mayank Agarwal is a certainty as his batting average is 57.29 in 11 tests and he is more experienced than both Shubman Gill who is yet to debut in tests and Prithvi Shaw who has played only 4 tests.

“…India is a little bit shaky at the top of the order. They don’t know who they are going to go with. Mayank Agarwal is of course a certainty. But who’s the other opener — Shubman Gill or Prithvi Shaw?” said Gavaskar.

Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Google)

“So with uncertainty at the top, they would like to strengthen their batting and so Rishabh Pant will play. I am hoping he (Rishabh) plays at 6 because then that will allow you to pick 5 bowlers to try and get 20 Australian wickets,” he added.

Shubman Gill scored 43 and 65 in the two innings in 2nd practice match while Prithvi Shaw scored 40 and 3 in the two innings. Both of them failed to open their account in the first innings of a first practice match.

Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Twitter.
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Shubman Gill Should Open In The First Test Against Australia: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border, legendary former cricketers have backed young batsman Shubman Gill who is yet to debut in tests to open the batting for Team India instead of Prithvi Shaw in the first Test against Australia in Adelaide starting December 17.

Shubman Gill showed good form with the bat in the second tour practice match against Australia A, scoring 43 and 65 runs, for which Sunil Gavaskar feels he is a better option than Prithvi Shaw who scored 0,19,40 and 3 in the four innings in two practice games for the series opener.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. Image Credit: Twitter.

Sunil Gavaskar : Shubman Gill Shown Good Form And Should Open With Mayank Agarwal In 1st Test

Shubman Gill flopped in 1st practice game scoring 0 and 29 but made up for the poor show in the next one scoring 43 and 65 which makes him in the running for opening along with Mayank Agarwal.

“I think Shubman Gill should open with Mayank for the first Test match because he’s shown good form. Allan Border was there for the games (practice games), (and) was very impressed with what he saw from Shubman Gill. So I would imagine that he should open with Mayank Agarwal for the first Test,” Gavaskar said.

Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Google)

Allan Border meanwhile, said that Shubman Gill’s technique seemed to be better-suited for Australian pitches than Prithvi Shaw, who flopped in the practice matches failing to score even a single 50 and highest being 40 in four innings in 2 games.

“I’ve been in Sydney the last couple of days, watching the Indian team against Australia A. I was impressed with Gill. I really think he’s got something about him, his technique. I know he’s young so he can play a few rash shots here and there, but he looks a seriously good player, this kid. He would be my pick out of the guys I saw.”

“I know you guys [rate] Shaw but it seems to me like he plays a shot-a-ball. Against the new ball, it looks good on flat tracks, but in Australia, you’ve got to be a little bit more watchful about your shot selection. He just seems a bit loose outside the off stump for me. If I’m the Indian selector, I’m looking very close at young Gill,” said Border.

Shubman Gill has played in 3 ODIs only and scored 49 runs with highest being 33. He is a regular member of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL playing since 2018 and top-scored for his side in IPL 2020 amassing 440 runs.

Sunil Gavaskar Backs Rishabh Pant To Play 1st Test

Sunil Gavaskar also backed Rishabh Pant to play the first Test ahead of Wriddhiman Saha who scored a fifty in the first practice match.

“It’s going to be a tough one for the selection committee because Rishabh played in all the four Test matches during India’s [last] tour and he also got a hundred. And he seemed to have got under the skin of some of the Australian players with his chirping behind the stumps.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“When you’re playing on pitches where the wicketkeeper has to stand up to the stumps, where the ball turns around a bit, that’s when you tend to take your best wicketkeeper – in which case, Wriddhiman Saha would be the obvious choice,” Gavaskar said.

Rishabh Pant scored 5 in the first innings in second practice match but scored a counter-attacking century in second innings by being unbeaten on 103 off only 73 balls.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credits: Twitter
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100 At Warm Up Game Was A Confidence Booster, Says Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant, the Indian wicket-keeper batsman says the hundred that he struck in the recently-concluded pink-ball warm-up game was just the confidence-booster he needed ahead of the Test series against Australia starting December 17 at Adelaide.

Rishabh Pant, who struggled with fitness and form in IPL 2020 in the UAE, showed glimpses of his batting abilities and created a selection dilemma for the Indian team management by smashing a 73-ball 103 in the visitors’ second innings against Australia A in the second practice game at Sydney.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

Rishabh Pant’s Ton Has Been A Big Confidence-Booster

India will now have to choose between Rishabh Pant and Bengal’s Wriddhiman Saha, who has shown himself to be a solid wicket-keeper, for the series-opener which will be a day-night affair in Adelaide, starting Thursday, 17th December. Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari scored tons as India managed to draw the match against Australia A.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

“When I went out to bat a lot of overs were left, so (Hanuma) Vihari and I wanted to build a good partnership. We wanted to bat as much as possible. I was just trying to give myself as much time as possible and slowly I started to develop confidence,” Pant told the BCCI’s official website.

“This hundred has been a big confidence-booster for me. It’s been a month, I am in Australia but I didn’t get the chance to play in the first practice match because of a stiff neck. In the first innings here I was unlucky as I felt the LBW decision was wrong from the umpire. In the second innings, my focus was to spend as much time as possible and the result is I got a good innings under my belt,” he said.

In IPL 2020, Rishabh Pant scored 343 runs in 14 games with only 1 fifty averaging 31.18 at a strike rate of 113.95 which is below par according to his standards.

Rishabh Pant: Batting Unit Keen To Spend As Much Time As Possible In Middle

The 23-year-old left-hander said Indian team’s main focus in the second practice game, as a batting unit, was to spend considerable time in the middle of crease against the pink ball.

“In the first innings we got out little early because there was a lot of moisture on the wicket. In the second innings, we got an idea about the wicket…so in the second innings everyone tried and applied more,” he said.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“The batting unit was keen to spend as much time as possible in the middle,” Pant said detailing the team’s plan as it was necessary to play the practice match with the pink ball.

“The bowlers bowled well, the batsmen got good time at the crease. Everyone did well, so I think we got very good practice because playing under lights is little difficult,” he added.

Australia have won all of their 7 day-night matches played while India have won the only match they played under lights that too against Bangladesh.

Hanuma Vihari, Sachin Tendulkar
Hanuma Vihari (Image Credit: Google)
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Tough Call For Team Management To Decide Upon Wicket-Keeper: Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari, an Indian all-rounder, said both wicket-keepers Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant are in good form and it will be a tough call for the team management to decide on who will don the wicketkeeping gloves in the first Test against Australia which will be a day-night affair at Adelaide.

Wriddhiman Saha scored two ducks but also scored a half-century in the two practice games while Rishabh Pant made amends of falling cheaply in the first innings by scoring a counter-attacking century in 2nd practice game.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

Hanuma Vihari : Wicket-keeping Selection Depends On Team Management

Hanuma Vihari’s comments that there is tough competition in the team came after the completion of India’s three-day day-night practice game against Australia A which ended in a draw at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday.

“Healthy competition is always good for the team and I feel, for every spot, we have good competition. It all depends on team management as to whom they decide to pick. I feel both of them are looking in good form so it will be a tough call and a good headache,” Vihari said while answering an ANI query in the virtual post-match press conference.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari played unbeaten knocks of 103 and 104 respectively during the second innings as India put up a daunting total of 386/4 before declaring the innings.

Wriddhiman Saha did not bat in the second innings and was dismissed without scoring in the first innings. However, in the previous practice game at the Drummoyne Oval, he had scored an unbeaten 54 runs in the second innings which saved India from jaws of defeat against Australia A.

Hanuma Vihari Thinks He Is Bowling Decently And Getting A Wicket Is a Bonus

Apart from hitting a century, Hanuma Vihari also bowled seven overs during Australia A’s second innings and picked the wicket of Alex Carey (58).

Reflecting on his bowling performance, Vihari said: “I think I am bowling decently. Ajinkya asked me to bowl and I was happy to do it. I think I did pretty well and getting a wicket is a bonus.”

Indian pacers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj bagged early wickets in the first session to put visitors on top on the final day. However, Ben McDermott and Jack Wildermuth smashed tons to end India’s chances as the match ended in a draw. Australia A scored 108 and 307/4 while India scored 194 and 386/4 declared.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The first Test of the four-match series between India and Australia will commence on Thursday 17th December in Adelaide and will be a day-night affair. Australia have won all of their 7-day night tests while India have played and won a solitary day-night test against Bangladesh at Kolkata. This will be India’s first overseas day-night test.

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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Rishabh Pant Reminds One Of Adam Gilchrist: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener and current commentator has opined that dashing wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant reminds one of Australian Adam Gilchrist because of his game-changing abilities.

Chopra made the above observation while discussing about the batsman’s enterprising knock against Australia A in the 2nd practice match in a video shared on his YouTube channel.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra (Image Credit: Facebook)

Aakash Chopra: Rishabh Pant Reminds One Of Adam Gilchrist

Aakash Chopra named Rishabh Pant as his player of the day, and said that the southpaw overtook another centurion Hanuma Vihari to the post. He pointed out that the wicketkeeper-batsman demolished the Australia A attack single-handed on the second day of the three-day encounter.

“The player of the day, although I wanted to keep Hanuma Vihari, but I have changed it to Rishabh Pant. Because if you destroy the opposition like this at the end. This is the quality that this guy has.”

The reputed commentator even compared Rishabh Pant to legendary Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, although he acknowledged the fact that this is just the start of Rishabh Pant’s career.

“He is like the Adam Gilchrist. Obviously Adam Gilchrist has achieved a lot but Rishabh Pant’s story has just started. But when he plays, he reminds you of him, it feels like he can reach close to him.”

Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist (Image Credit: Google)

Aakash Chopra reasoned the Delhi Capitals batsman who didn’t have a good IPL 2020 can alter the state of the game in a single session and can score runs equally quickly in tests and limited overs.

“Because if he comes in the lower order and changes the game in a single session, that ability is there in Rishabh Pant.”

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Rishabh Pant would have been under intense pressure when he came to bat after scoring only 5 in first innings.

“He was under a lot of pressure, he had not scored in the last innings and this was his last chance. He had not even played the first warm-up match.”

The southpaw had not played the first practice match and was dismissed cheaply in the first innings of this encounter in India A’s pathetic batting performance as they were reduced to 123/9 before being dismissed for 194 after tail-ender Jasprit Bumrah scored an unbeaten 55.

Aakash Chopra: Question Is Whether India Will Stick With Rishabh Pant Or Go To Wriddhiman Saha

The former KKR player pointed out that Rishabh Pant gave enough ample proof of his destructive abilities while accelerating to his century in the last session of play in 2nd practice match at Sydney.

“The last 30 to 45 minutes of the final session was completely dominated by Rishabh Pant. He made everyone aware of his amazing capabilities. The question was whether he will even attempt to score a hundred but he did that as well.”

The 43-year-old commentator particularly praised Rishabh Pant’s ability to hit the towering sixes into the stands as he hit 6 sixes in his entertaining innings.

“He converts the seats in the stadium into fielders and made the fielders as spectators. The destructive Rishabh Pant is back.”

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

Aakash Chopra concluded by observing that it would be an extremely tough call for the team management as they will be in a dilemma to choose between one of Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha as the wicket-keeper for the first Test against Australia.

“The big question will be if India will stick with him or go to Wriddhiman Saha. But one thing is for sure, with this hundred, whether you play him or not, he will be an overhauling thought and you can’t really discard him. He has been that good.”

The dashing left-handed wicket-keeper batsman scored only 5 runs in the first innings but followed it up by scoring an unbeaten 103 off only 73 balls with 9 fours and 6 sixes making up for the poor performance in first innings.

Wriddhiman Saha scored a duck off 22 balls in the first innings in the ongoing second practice match that saw India bundled for a paltry 194.

But he bailed out India A by scoring an unbeaten 54 off 100 balls with 7 fours when needed most against Australia A as India A were reduced to 129/7 in second innings in the first practice match.

But his two ducks and a fifty makes it an interesting toss-up between him and Rishabh Pant who scored a ton to feature in playing XI for the first test.

Wriddhiman Saha, Indian
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)
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Parthiv Patel Backs Wriddhimman Saha To Keep For India In The Test Series

Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel has backed Wriddhiman Saha to keep wickets in Test cricket for the Indian team against Australia in the upcoming series. Parthiv announced his retirement from world cricket yesterday.

Notably, the Indian wicketkeeping conundrum has been going on for a very long time ever since MS Dhoni left the Indian colours last year in the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The Indian cricket team has failed to fill the void left by Dhoni and thus, the position has been debatable for more than 1.5 years.

Wriddhiman Saha, Mahmudullah
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

Parthiv Patel Backs Wriddhiman Saha To Keep Wickets For India In Test Cricket

Parthiv Patel, who announced his retirement on Wednesday, picked India’s first-choice wicket-keeper for the upcoming Test series against Australia.

Parthiv put his weight firmly behind Saha and termed him the best keeper of India.

Parthiv Patel makes come back In Team India as a back up for MS Dhoni
Parthiv Patel makes come back In Team India as a back up for MS Dhoni

“I still believe in Test matches, your best keeper should play like Wriddhiman Saha for India. Yes, the skills change as per formats but I believe now, you have to be equally good keeper and batsman to play for India,” Parthiv said.

Team India To Take On Australia In The Test Series From December 17

The India team’s Test campaign against Australia will begin from December 17 as the first Test will get underway at the Adelaide Oval. The first Test will be a Day-Night Pink-Ball Test match, which will be the first Day-Night Test match between India and Australia. Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in Virat’s absence in the last three Test matches.

Team India Touring Australia Will Be Allowed To Train During Quarantine Period But In Small Bubbles
India. Image Credits: Twitter

Indian skipper Virat Kohli will return back to India after the first Test as he has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI. The odds are level in the tour so far as both the teams have gone on to win 3 games each on the tour so far.

Parthiv Patel | Gujarat Ranji team | Ranji Trophy 2017/18
Parthiv Patel
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Parthiv Patel Announced Retirement From All Forms Of Cricket

Parthiv Patel, wicketkeeper-batsman who debuted at only 17 years of age on 9th December, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket immediately at 35 years of age. He represented Gujarat from 2001/02 to 2020.

He made his international debut in 2002 at the ripe age of 17 in an away Test series against England and went on to represent India in 25 Test matches where he scored 934 runs averaging 31.13.

Parthiv Patel
Parthiv Patel. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Parthiv Patel Brought Down Curtains On 18-Year-Old Journey

He also played 38 ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals where he scored 736 and 36 runs respectively. He last wore Indian jersey in 2018 in Tests against South Africa in Johannesburg. He last featured in T20I in 2011 and ODI in 2012. The left-handed wicket-keeper took to Twitter to announce his retirement

“Today I announce my retirement from all forms of cricket, and as I bring down the curtains on this 18 year old cricketing journey, I feel heavier with gratitude towards many. The BCCI showed a generous amount of confidence and faith in a 17 year old boy to play for India. I have enormous gratitude towards them for being a guiding force and hand holding me, in the formative years of my young career,” Patel said in his long Twitter post.

“I am full of gratitude to The Gujarat Cricket Association, my home, for solidly rallying around me throughout my journey, and the leadership role conferred upon me couldn’t have been more joyous and fulfilling than our team winning all formats of the game,” he added.

Parthiv Patel, India, nine fingers
Parthiv Patel. Image Credit: Getty Images

Parthiv Patel featured in 139 IPL matches amassing 2848 runs averaging 22.6 with the bat. He had 13 fifties with the career-best score of 81 achieved in 2016. He played for Chennai Super Kings from 2008-2010, defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011, defunct Deccan Chargers in 2012, SunRisers Hyderabad in 2013, Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2014 and from 2018-2020 and also Mumbai Indians in 2015-2017. He rested the bench in IPL 2020.

Parthiv Patel Who Debuted In 2002 Became Youngest Wicketkeeper In Tests At 17

Parthiv Patel debuted in the year 2002 against England at Trent Bridge in tests at 17 years and 153 days to become Test Cricket’s youngest wicketkeeper. On 2016, he was called up as a replacement for the regular wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha who had suffered a thigh strain, for the third Test of the England home series against India at Mohali. He missed 83 Test matches between appearances and played the first Test in a span of eight years.

He debuted in ODIs in 2003 and played his last ODI in 2012. He only made intermittent appearances in ODIs, usually when Rahul Dravid was injured or being rested (in full or from wicket-keeping duties).

Rahul Dravid, wicket-keeping
Rahul Dravid, wicket-keeping Credits: AFP.

Parthiv Patel was a stalwart in Indian domestic cricket and scored over 11,000 runs in 194 first-class games averaging 43.39, with 27 centuries and 67 half-centuries.  He played 193 List A matches where he hit three tons and amassed 5172 runs.

He was even leading Gujarat in Ranji Trophy for past few seasons and guided them to their first-ever title triumph in the 2016-17 season.

Rishabh Pant, Virender Sehwag
Rishabh Pant (Image Credit: Google)
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Rishabh Pant Only Has Himself To Blame At This Point In Time, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra, former opener turned commentator believes that Rishabh Pant has himself to blame for his exclusion from white-ball squads for an Australian tour. Although he was considered an X factor and next big thing in Indian cricket, he failed to grab limited opportunities performing poorly and inconsistently with the bat which led to his snub especially in ODIs and T20Is.

Since the likes of all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja are doing a fantastic job for India with the bat coming down the order recently, Aakash Chopra feels that Rishabh Pant’s presence would have added and boosted India’s batting might.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. Photo Credit: BCCI/IPL.

Rishabh Pant Hasn’t Made Full Use Of Chances And Has Himself To Blame: Aakash Chopra.

Rishabh Pant scored 350 runs in 4 tests averaging 58.33 against Australia when India won their maiden test series 2-1 in Australia last time they toured Down Under. But he performed poorly averaging less than 20 against West Indies and New Zealand away from home.

“Just think about it, if Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja play at No.5, 6, and 7 for India, then suddenly you feel ‘wow, what a team!’. But did Rishabh did enough for himself? This is one question that he will have to ask himself,” Aakash Chopra told Cricbuzz.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Image Credit: Getty Images.

However, he stressed the fact that the 23-year-old wicket-keeper should blame himself for not featuring for the Men in Blue in white-ball limited-overs cricket because he had often gifted his wicket away in pressured crunch situations when India wanted him to bat through the innings and finish off games.

“Rishabh Pant needed to understand this whenever he had the opportunity, he had to understand that the way he was getting out and whether he was able to finish the match or not. He has not made full use of the chances that he got and he only has himself to blame at this point in time,” he further added.

Rishabh Pant represented India in 13 Tests, 15 ODIs and 28 T20Is so far but his average is below 30 in limited-overs, and he has only 2 T20I and a solitary ODI fifty. In tests, he has a better average with 2 hundreds and 2 fifties, but his form hasn’t been up to the mark recently.

Aakash Chopra: Wriddhiman Saha Keeping For India A  Means Rishabh Pant May Even Lose Test Spot

Aakash Chopra commented that Rishabh Pant was once looked upon as one of the first choice wicket-keepers across all three formats-ODI, Test and T20I and was even added to 2019 World Cup squad as a replacement for injured Shikhar Dhawan.

“Wriddhiman Saha has been keeping for India A in the practice game against Australia A. It means that Rishabh Pant has even lost his spot in Test cricket. At one point in time, he was India’s first-choice wicketkeeper across all three formats. He was also sent to the 2019 World Cup as a replacement,” Aakash Chopra asserted.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: Google)

India A are playing against Australia A at Sydney where Wriddhiman Saha has been preferred over Rishabh Pant in playing XI which means that Rishabh Pant may have lost a place even in the Test team.

“If things have turned out to be this bad for him, he is still young and will get chances to bounce back. But he will have to be a bit harsh on himself that he did not make the most of his chances,” Aakash Chopra further added.

Rishabh Pant must ensure that every chance in playing XI should be counted and is important for him to cement a permanent spot in white-ball and test squad with likes of KL Rahul, Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan’s stellar performances giving him a hard time.

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