While team selection decisions are often discussed and debated on social media after the line-ups are out, cricket commentator and expert Harsha Bhogle looked extremely ‘disappointed’ as he woke up on Friday morning to see Rishabh Pant being favoured over Wriddhiman Saha for the first Test between India and New Zealand in Wellington. While there’s no doubting that Saha remains the better wicket-keeper of the two, the run-scoring potential of Pant seems to have worked in the latter’s favour.
Indian captain Virat Kohli announced the team composition during the toss as he revealed that Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Ravindra Jadeja are the ones missing out. While the exclusion of Gill, Umesh, Saini and Jadeja was expected, eyebrows were raised as it was found out that Saha isn’t a part of the team either.
“Just up and see Saha is left out. We have just told every young keeper in India not to bother becoming the best in the world behind the stumps and instead focus on getting a few more runs in front of them. Disappointed.”
“Am waiting to see Shreya Ghoshal left out of a major concert because the other girl could strum the guitar a bit better!! #Saha”
“Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about Pant. Just think in tests you pick your best five batsmen, best four bowlers, best keeper and think about a secondary skill for number six, if at all. I hope he does well because he is a gifted young player but feel for Saha.”
The primary reason behind Saha being termed the first-choice wicket-keeper in Tests his ‘world-class’ wicket-keeping skills. Pant, who didn’t play a single game in the T20I and the ODI series against the Kiwis, got the nod over Saha on Friday in what seems to be a move to help the youngster rediscover some form and confidence.