“Where else will he learn?” – Saba Karim backs Rishabh Pant to keep wickets in India

New Zealand v India - Second Test: Day 2

Rishabh Pant drops a catch

Former India wicketkeeper Saba Karim believes that Rishabh Pant‘s keeping skills will only improve if he’s exposed to turning tracks on Indian soil.

Adding his opinion to the debate if the youngster should play as a specialist batsman or a wicketkeeper-batsman in home conditions, the former BCCI general manager believes Rishabh Pant should now keep wickets at home.

In the recent past, India have preferred Wriddhiman Saha over Rishabh Pant for keeping wickets on turners in home Tests.

With both the players named in the Indian squad for the upcoming Tests against England, there’s no clarity if Pant will play as a specialist batsman or get to don the gloves.

Saba Karim, a former selector, firmly stated that Rishabh Pant should keep wickets in the home Tests that are played on challenging turning tracks.

“Rishabh Pant should be allowed to keep on home soil. Keeping against our spinners will test his keeping skills. Why are we hiding him from turning tracks? Where else will he learn? He can keep for hours in the nets, but nothing beats keeping in a match. The pressure of Test match will only help him grow as a keeper,” Saba Karim told Indranil Basu during an interaction on SK Live.

Rishabh Pant’s wicketkeeping skills came under the scanner during the Sydney Test last month when he let off Australian debutant Will Pucovski twice in the first innings and struggled against spin bowling.

However, he left a strong impression with his batting as India created history in Australia by winning the Test series 2-1.

Throwing insights into the basics of keeping wickets and how technical deficiencies can be worked upon, Saba Karima added:

“Technical deficiencies can be worked upon. Feet movement, body position, head position are basics to wicketkeeping. But at times when you are under pressure, you forget the basics and make the old mistakes. This is one area where he has to improve. Wicketkeeping is all about confidence. 

“He has to allow every ball to come to him. One of the basics of wicketkeeping is the feeling that every ball that the bowler bowls is coming to him. That helps you get into a better position. Your feet movement and head position will be perfect. And once you get the position right, you are better placed for the nicks.”

The four-Test series between India and England starts in Chennai from February 5.

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