Former India cricketer Sandeep Patil slammed the Indian team management for choosing Rishabh Pant over Wriddhiman Saha during their recently-concluded Test series in New Zealand, which Virat Kohli and Co lost by 0-2
While Saha featured for India during their home Tests series wins against South Africa and Bangladesh, he lost his place to Pant for the tour of New Zealand. However, the youngster did not have a good outing with the bat as he managed to score just 60 runs across four innings.
“You are promoting Rishabh Pant, but playing with the career of Wriddhiman Saha,” Sandeep Patil was quoted as saying by Mid-day.
“Saha will always be my first choice as wicketkeeper simply because you need experience and he is more experienced. Saha has also always rescued the team so why are you taking away his batting confidence? I know what Saha is capable of; I was in the West Indies when he scored that hundred [at St Lucia in 2016],” added the former selector.
Although India head coach Ravi Shastri made it clear that the team management would be backing Pant for overseas matches, Pant’s inclusion in the Test squad was surprising as he wasn’t even part of the One-Day Internationals and T20 International series against New Zealand with KL Rahul being the preferred wicket-keeper.
Virat Kohli defended the decision to select Pant over Saha after India’s series loss, saying India failed collectively as a batting unit.
“We have given a lot of chances to Rishabh, you need to figure out when is the right time to give someone a chance. I don’t see anyone taking their place for granted in this team, no one here has come in thinking that I am going to play every game,” Kohli told reporters.
“Rishabh has worked very hard behind the scenes, so we thought of giving him a chance in this series. We thought he will come good in this series, but as a collective unit, we did not show a good batting performance,” he added.