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"Rishabh Pant has got some work to do with his keeping" - Ricky Ponting

Rishabh Pant dropped two catches off Will Pucovski on day one of the SCG Test
Rishabh Pant dropped two catches off Will Pucovski on day one of the SCG Test
Modified 07 Jan 2021, 15:38 IST

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes Indian wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant needs to focus on improving his wicketkeeping skills, following a poor show behind the stumps on day one of the third Test.

The 46-year-old feels Team India are lucky that Rishabh Pant's dropped catches didn't cost them much.

Despite losing the toss again, the visitors were right on top of the Aussies after picking up the early wicket of David Warner. They could have also dismissed young Will Pucovski when he was on 26. However, Rishabh Pant dropped a sitter off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin.

Pucovski provided another chance for Rishabh Pant to redeem himself, as the youngster's mistimed pull off the bowling of Mohammed Siraj went straight up in the air. However, the wicketkeeper again made a hash of it and gave the opener another life.

Speaking to, Ricky Ponting explained that Rishabh Pant needs to buckle up and become a better wicketkeeper as such drops could prove to be very costly for his team.

"The ones (dropped catches) today are two that should be taken, simple as that. It's probably lucky for Rishabh that Pucovski didn't go on and make a big hundred or a double hundred and looking at the wicket, it looks like an unbelievable surface," Ponting said.
"I'm sure when Rishabh put those catches down, he would have thought the worst and 'here we go, he's really going to make me pay' but (Pucovski) didn't today. Since his debut in Test cricket, he's dropped more catches than any other keeper in the world. That highlights he has got some work to do with his keeping," he added.

Pucovski made the most of Rishabh Pant's dropped catches to bring up half-century on Test debut

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant's dropped catches allowed Will Pucovski to make his half-century

Ponting was impressed with the way Pucovski batted for his maiden half-century. The hosts were having a genuine problem at the top of the order with out-of-form Joe Burns proving to be inconsistent.

However, Pucovski grabbed his opportunity with both hands and made the most of Rishabh Pant's mistakes. Ponting lauded the young opener for his temperament and the different shots that he had on display.

Although Pucovski didn't go on to score a hundred, Ponting believes the youngster has done enough to prove he belongs at the Test level.

He is hopeful that the 22-year-old maintains his consistency and represents Australia for at least 10-12 years.

"The thing I liked most was his composure. He looked really composed, he didn't look overawed at all. He looked like he trusted his game, trusted his defence early on against some good fast bowling, and just before the tea break started to expand his game a little bit; (he played) some nice cut shots, back-foot punches and some nice pull shots," Ricky Ponting noted.
"He'll be disappointed, no doubt, that he didn't really cash in and make a big score. But at the same time I think he'll be quite content knowing he's got a game that can stand up at Test level. We'll all keep our fingers crossed and hope that he stays fit and healthy because he could potentially be a 10- or 12-year player for Australia," he further added.

Australia will be the happier of the two sides as they ended the rain-hit day one of the third Test in Sat 166-2. Both Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are looking good at the crease and have already added 60 runs for the third wicket.

While the hosts will be looking to build on their good start, Team India will rue Rishabh Pant's missed chances. The visitors will need to bag quick wickets on day two, or else they could find themselves far behind in the game.

Published 07 Jan 2021, 15:38 IST
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