Chopra made this observation while responding to fan questions on various cricketing topics, in a video shared on his Facebook page.
Aakash Chopra was asked if Rishabh Pant should be played in the second Test, as he is in good form with the bat. Chopra responded that the Indian team might go for a change of wicket-keeper for the Melbourne Test, saying in this regard:
"This is one change that can probably happen. I am not advocating that but just starting a conversation."
He reasoned that Virat Kohli's absence from the second Test onwards will make the Indian batting slightly weaker, and they may thus opt for a better batsman in the form of Rishabh Pant.
"Since, Virat Kohli is leaving, you will play Shubman Gill or KL Rahul instead of him. So, your batting has already become weaker," observed Chopra.
The reputed commentator added that the Indian openers are also not amongst the runs, which makes Rishabh Pant's case even stronger. Aakash Chopra, however, observed that there will not be any reason to complain if the Indian team decides to stick with Saha for the second Test, saying in this regard:
"Your openers are already not firing. So, when you see this combination, you can go towards Pant. But even if you play Saha, I am not going to criticise you even once."
Aakash Chopra feels that Rishabh Pant being a southpaw might help India
Aakash Chopra observed that Wriddhiman Saha would be the preferred choice if the Indian team looks for a better wicketkeeper.
"If you want to play a better keeper at No.7, that is Saha. It is not the case that Saha cannot bat, and it is not that Pant can't keep wickets," opined Chopra.
He said that a false narrative has been created that Rishabh Pant is not an able keeper, and Wriddhiman Saha cannot wield the willow. Chopra said in this regard:
"Till now, the atmosphere has been created that Pant is a bad keeper. How is that the case, as he takes very good catches, and last time on the Australian tour, he had taken the maximum catches; and Saha cannot bat; how can he not as he has a Test century."
Aakash Chopra signed off by saying that he would be fine if the Indian team opts for Rishabh Pant because the latter lends variety to the batting, as he is a southpaw and can play the attacking game as well. Chopra, however, observed that the Indian team cannot be blamed if they decide to retain Saha.
"If you have in mind that you should play a left-hander, there is no other left-hander in the lineup, and there is no game-changer. I am okay with it, but I am not going to criticise if you play Saha."
The Indian team would surely want to strengthen their batting after their dismal performance in the second innings of the Adelaide Test.
Considering Rishabh Pant's prowess with the bat and his excellent performances in India's last tour of Australia, the young left-hander is likely to regain his Test spot in the Boxing Day Test on Saturday.Published 21 Dec 2020, 16:20 IST