Former opener Aakash Chopra has opined that if the Indian team management opt to play Rishabh Pant as the wicket-keeper in the Melbourne Test, they will not be able to justify the decision to Wriddhiman Saha.
He made this observation while talking about the wholesale changes India is likely to make for the second Test in a video shared on his Facebook page.
Aakash Chopra started by talking about the rumours floating around that India might go in with five bowlers for the Boxing Day Test with Ravindra Jadeja added as the second spinner. The renowned commentator questioned this change, as India lost the Adelaide Test due to batting failures and the Aussies are overly reliant on a couple of batsmen.
"The news coming in is that Ravindra Jadeja will get the chance and India will go in with five bowlers. I don't understand it personally because your problem is not the bowling. You lost because of the batting and the bowling is going very well."
"You are able to do with four bowlers. I agree Shami is not there but you should see the opposition batting also. They are dependent a lot on Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith."
Aakash Chopra wants India to persist with Hanuma Vihari as a sixth batsman, contrary to what certain reports are suggesting.
"I will still say that India should play six proper batsmen and Hanuma Vihari should definitely play. But it has come from the sources that Jadeja will play and Hanuma Vihari will go out."
Aakash Chopra reasoned Vihari has performed decently in the limited opportunities he has got. The Andhra batsman even struck a century in the second warm-up encounter before the first Test.
"No one knows what Hanuma Vihari has done wrong. He has been doing okay in the last little while. He had scored a fifty in New Zealand and a century in the warm-up game. So, it is not that his form is very bad."
Aakash Chopra's views on Rishabh Pant replacing Wriddhiman Saha
Aakash Chopra observed Rishabh Pant is likely to replace Wriddhiman Saha to strengthen the Indian batting lineup. He highlighted Virat Kohli's absence and India opting to go for five bowlers might necessitate the southpaw's inclusion.
"Wriddhiman Saha will probably be shown the way out and Rishabh Pant will be brought in. It could be because you need a little more cushion in the batting because Kohli has left and you are also looking at leaving out Vihari and play with five batsmen, so the sixth batsmen who is a keeper, should be a better batsman."
Aakash Chopra questioned what explanation the team management can give to Saha in case he has to make way for Rishabh Pant.
"So you will play Rishabh Pant there. But what will you say to Wriddhiman Saha?"
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating India making wholesale changes for the Melbourne Test might suggest that they are rattled after the hammering in the first encounter.
"If you make so many changes after one match, it just shows one thing that you they have pressed the panic button."
While it might be slightly unfair to Wriddhiman Saha, the Indian team will have to go with Rishabh Pant as the wicket-keeper for the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
With the Indian batting coming up short in the Adelaide Test and Virat Kohli also unavailable, all possible efforts will have to be made to strengthen that department of the game.
Published 24 Dec 2020, 11:28 IST