The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection committee chief MSK Prasad had vowed to give Rishabh Pant a consistent run in the Indian team, making him the undisputed No. 1 choice behind the stumps after the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup. Things, however, turned out to be quite different. Just one and a half series into the post-World Cup phase, Pant has been dropped in favor of Wriddhiman Saha for the South Africa Tests.
The 21-year-old had not been in the best of form lately scoring just 58 runs in the two-Test series against the West Indies. In fact, his mediocre form in the limited-overs cricket has only added to the youngster’s woes in the longest format.
Pant got a long rope with the Indian team as the first-choice keeper Saha, had a long injury layoff. In that time Pant was doing fairly well on the tours of England and Australia – where he scored a ton each but was often criticized for his rash shot selection.
With the arrival of the World Test Championship, the way everyone sees Test cricket has changed. It isn’t just the series that is at stake but also the team’s position in the championship standings. There’s no doubting that Saha is a better wicket-keeper than Pant and can hence keep wickets for the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin better. Considered as the best Indian wicket-keeper at present, Saha’s wicket-keeping skills have been the core reason behind his place in the team before the injury phase a year ago.
The last time Saha appeared in Test for India was in January 2018 against South Africa. The 34-year-old, in 32 Tests for the country has scored 1164 runs at an average of 30.63.