Rishabh Pant is almost a surety in the Indian starting XI after his exploits with the bat in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. But there have been a few suggestions stating that the southpaw could play as a specialist batsman, with Wriddhiman Saha donning the wicket-keeping gloves.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra was asked by a fan if Rishabh Pant should be India’s first-choice wicket-keeper for the four-match Test series against England.
The renowned commentator responded by stating that there can be no excuse for not playing Rishabh Pant now. He added that the youngster needs to ply his trade behind the stumps as well.
“I feel Pant will play first because if you don’t play him now, how will you show your face and what reason you will give to him for not playing him. It is true that his keeping is not as good as Saha but he is not a goalkeeper, he is a keeper and takes good catches. He does drop catches, but who doesn’t drop catches. Paine and Saha also dropped catches,” said Chopra
After his heroics Down Under, it comes as no surprise that @RishabhPant17 is one of the three nominees for ICC Men’s Player of the Month for January 😎🔥
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) February 2, 2021
Aakash Chopra reasoned that Rishabh Pant can only improve his glovework if allowed to do so.
“Even if we agree that his keeping is work in progress, it will only improve if he keeps wickets. So in my opinion, Rishabh Pant has to 100% play ahead of Saha at this point in time,” added Chopra
Aakash Chopra observed that India will have to play five bowlers in their playing XI, considering the hectic schedule.
“I will play only six batsmen in which the sixth batsman will be Rishabh Pant. It is a four-match series with back-to-back matches and a lot of workload on the bowlers, so I will want to have five bowling options up my sleeve,” said Chopra
The former Indian player highlighted that Rishabh Pant needs to be preferred over Saha in such a scenario, owing to the 23-year-old’s prowess with the bat.
“When you try to go with this combination, where you are playing five full bowlers, Rishabh Pant ahead of Saha at this point in time in my opinion. I respect Saha, I like him a lot but I don’t think he can play at the moment,” concluded Aakash Chopra
“What you see is what you get with Rishabh Pant is he can give you heart attacks, heart aches, heart breaks, but Rishabh Pant can also give you moments that take your breath away. He is a great package, one of the most explosive and fearless Cricketers going around.” – R Sridhar
— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) February 1, 2021
Rishabh Pant has played just a couple of Test matches in India to date. Both the games were against the West Indies, with the swashbuckling wicket-keeper-batsman playing 92-run knocks in each of those encounters.