New Zealand vs India 2020: Playing Pant was not a bad idea, reckons Farokh Engineer
- Farokh Engineer believes that Rishabh Pant has the ability to become successful in the longest format.
The merry-go-round in wicket-keeping continued as India decided to go with Rishabh Pant instead of Wriddhiman Saha as their wicket-keeper for both the Tests against New Zealand. Saha had made a comeback into the Indian team in the 2019-20 home season as the team management thought that he would keep well on tracks that had spin and bounce. That is exactly what happened as he was excellent behind the stumps. Thus, many eyebrows were raised when the team management decided to play Pant overseas.
However, former Indian wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer believes that although Saha is a better keeper of the two, it was Pant's match-winning ability that got him an edge over Saha and it worked in his favor.
“Purely on wicketkeeping skills for a Test match, Saha is a better choice. If you compare the batting aspect, Pant can change the complexion of a game. So, playing Pant was not a bad idea. I wouldn’t say it was a disaster. He didn’t do anything wrong behind the stumps,” Engineer was quoted as saying by Mid-day.
Also see – MI 2020 team
Pant, however, failed to repay the faith shown in him and failed in all four innings with the bat, thus receiving criticism left, right and center. Engineer felt that the southpaw's failure was because of him being too cautious and trying to play a game that was not natural to him. He said he believes that had he been the skipper of the Indian team, he would have backed Pant to play his natural game, such is the talent of the youngster.
After losing his place to KL Rahul in the Indian limited-overs playing XI, time is running out for Pant to cement his place in the Indian red-ball team. With Saha being injury prone and age not being on his side, he has an opportunity to become India's keeper in all formats if he puts up consistent performances.Published 05 Mar 2020, 11:08 IST