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"There is no conflict with Rishabh Pant" - Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha (left) and Rishabh Pant (right)
Wriddhiman Saha (left) and Rishabh Pant (right)
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 23 Jan 2021
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Veteran Indian wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha has said that there is no bad blood between him and Rishabh Pant, despite both competing to be the first-choice wicketkeeper in the Indian Test team.

It is widely perceived that the 36-year-old is the better gloveman while Rishabh Pant is the better batsman, which often divides opinion about who should get the nod, especially in away Tests.

In the recently-concluded 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Saha played the Adelaide opener, but Pant was preferred for the remaining three Tests.

During an interaction with PTI, Wriddhiman Saha said that he has an amiable and healthy relationship with Rishabh Pant and prefers to focus on things in his control.

"You can ask him (Pant); we have a friendly relationship and help each other whoever gets into the XI. Personally, there's no conflict with him. I don't see who is No 1 or 2... Team will give a chance to those who do better. I will continue to do my job. Selection is not in my hands; it''s up to the management," Wriddhiman Saha said.

Rishabh Pant's wicketkeeping will definitely improve: Wriddhiman Saha

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant

Wriddhiman Saha didn't make enough runs in the first Test in Adelaide and was replaced by Rishabh Pant in Melbourne.

The left-hander's inclusion had an immediate impact. His quickfire 29-run knock in the first innings helped India take a crucial lead en route to a series-levelling win. However, Pant was criticised for his two dropped catches on the first day of the third Test in Sydney.

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Although the left-hander was not at his best behind the stumps, Wriddhiman Saha believes the youngster will 'definitely improve'.

"No one learns algebra in class I. You always go step by step. He is giving his best and will definitely improve," Wriddhiman Saha asserted.

Despite his rather shoddy work behind the stumps, Rishabh Pant's blistering 97-run knock in the second innings gave Team India an outside chance of pulling off a miraculous win. Although he couldn't take his team over the line in Sydney, Rishabh Pant ensured that was not the case in Brisbane.

The 23-year-old played the innings of his life on the final day at the Gabba, as his unbeaten 89 helped a depleted Team India win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against all odds.

For his younger compatriot's exploits, which helped Team India end Australia's 32-year invincibility at the Gabba, Saha lauded Rishabh Pant for his extraordinary innings under pressure.

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"He (Rishabh Pant) has always matured and proved himself. In the long run, it augurs well for the Indian team. The way he has shown his intent after being sidelined from his favourite T20/ODI formats was really exceptional," Saha further added.

Both Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant have been named in Team India's 18-man squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match home series with England.

It will be interesting to see if Pant continues to be played as the specialist keeper or the left-hander plays as a specialist batsman while Wriddhiman Saha dons the gloves.

Published 23 Jan 2021, 00:20 IST
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