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The versatile wicket-keeper

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Roar Guru
9th January, 2021

The current cricket summer has thrown up a lot of questions regarding selection for India. The added pressure of quarantine has not made the selector’s job any easier with less wiggle room on bringing players into the squad.

One of the biggest issues that have faced the Indians is the wicketkeeper selection, where Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha have both been tossed up as the best men behind the stumps.

This new age keeping dilemma seems to be in the aftermath of great wicketkeeper-batsmen in Adam Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakkara. Both Gilchrist and Sangakkara have paved the way for the keeper not only to have good glovework but to be another batsman. Gilchrist and Sangakkara both have an average of above 45 in the white-ball format, often being the players who steadied in the middle order.

India is well in vogue with picking Pant for this third Test due to his batting prowess. Pant, although strong with the bat, has been less than impressive behind the stumps with his glovework, dropping debutant Will Pucovski on two regulation occasions. Saha was selected for the first Test in Adelaide and was dropped as an accessory to their 36 all-out in the second innings. Saha has proven his skills behind the wicket in a performance against Sri Lanka in 2017 where the pitch was turning and crumbling as the ball was turning on a dime and to Saha’s credit, he did not let a bye or drop a catch that match.

Rishabh Pant has proven to be no mug with the bat on Australian soil, scoring 159 not-out on India’s famous tour of ’18-19 and proving to be the definitive factor with the bat holding off a strong attack and wearing bowlers down as well as attacking and ticking the scoreboard over.

The debate will rage on whether Saha or Pant should be the one with the gloves. The one who can bat often finds his place in the side with the ability to be the last resistance in the batting line-up before the bowlers are exposed.