“Rishabh Pant will become the best wicketkeeper in the next one year,” predicts Naman Ojha

Rishabh Pant

Recently-retired wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha has predicted that young Rishabh Pant could go on to become the best gloveman in the next year or so.

While Rishabh Pant has been excellent with the bat, his glovework has often come under the scanner. However, in the second Test against England in Chennai, the 23-year-old was highly impressive with his keeping on a viciously turning track.

According to Ojha, Rishabh Pant will only get better from here on as a wicketkeeper. Speaking to Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu in an SK Live interaction on Facebook, the 37-year-old said in this regard:

“Rishabh (Pant) will improve day-by-day. If he is keeping in Test matches, definitely he will improve in one-dayers and T20Is. It is very tough to keep in a Test match. Rishabh is also a tremendous batsman. I am sure that he will improve and, in the next one year, he will become the best keeper.”

Rishabh Pant has played 18 Test matches so far, averaging an impressive 44.85 with two hundreds and six fifties. He has also taken 71 catches and has effected five stumpings.

Asked who he feels should keep wickets for India in the shorter formats, Ojha said that the team should preferably have one keeper for all formats. The Madhya Pradesh legend opined:

“Those who are keeping in Test matches can keep in T20Is and ODIs as well. One chance can make or break a match. So I prefer those who are keeping in Test matches, if they are in the team in the shorter formats, they should be given preference over a one-day or T20 keeper. Being a safe keeper is important. That belief should be there for a bowler that ‘if a batsman nicks, he is definitely going towards the pavilion’. He is not going to watch whether the catch has been taken or not.”

When Rishabh Pant was struggling for runs in the shorter formats, India preferred KL Rahul behind the stumps. Now, with the left-hander finding form in Test matches, he has expectedly been recalled to the T20I side for the England series.

In this regard, Ojha has observed that both Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul have an advantage as wicketkeepers because they are very good batsmen. He further elaborated:

“KL Rahul has improved as a wicketkeeper. His fitness is very good. Fitness is very important in wicketkeeping. He is doing it from the last year or so, keeping in one-dayers and T20s. He is a match-winner with the bat. He and Rishabh will improve, definitely. Batting gives them confidence. When they score runs, they are very much relaxed behind the stumps. That is more important for a wicketkeeper.”

Naman Ojha announced his retirement from all forms of the game a few days ago.

In a stellar domestic career spanning two decades, he played 146 first-class games, amassing 9753 runs with 22 hundreds. As a keeper, he took 417 catches and registered 54 stumpings too.

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