He can do wonders’ – Despite Adelaide flop, Pragyan Ojha backs Wriddhiman Saha for MCG Test

Written by Abhishek Patil

Besides a half-century from Virat Kohli and a couple of 40s from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the first innings, the Indian batting was a train wreck in Adelaide. Even if getting shot out for 36 is thought of as a one-odd implosion, the fact that the Indian team, from 188/3 were bowled out 244, explains the cracks that the batting is going through.

Heading into the MCG Test, a few changes are expected, one of which is the wicketkeeper’s slot. Following his blazing century, Rishabh Pant was expected to feature in the Adelaide Test, but now that Wriddhiman Saha couldn’t do much with the bat in either innings, the team management is likely to bring the 23-year-old in place of his senior pro. Pant’s inclusion is something that people have been clamouring for, including former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, and on Sunday, various news agencies also reported that Pant is set to be included in India’s playing XI for the MCG Test.

But if former India spinner Pragyan Ojha is to be believed, the decision to rush Pant in the XI should be avoided and Saha should be given another go. Ojha believes since Saha was the first-choice wicketkeeper for Adelaide, dropping him on the back of one bad performance is unfair. He, however, did not share the same thoughts for the under-fire Shaw and feels Shubman Gill should get a look in.

“I think yes, Prithvi Shaw, after looking at his batting. It is definitely Shubman Gill who should get a chance. Prithvi should now focus on domestic cricket because that is where he can play, get those runs and make a comeback,” Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.

“I was backing Rishabh Pant for the first Test because of his batting. It was Pink ball and I was thinking that if Rishabh plays, he will get you those crucial runs. But now you are talking about a 36-year-old guy (Saha). He has just played 1 Test and if he is out of this team, there is no U-turn for him, so you give him one more chance.”

Ojha feels Saha has what it takes to do wonders, saying it is easy to get carried away knowing that a 36-year-old is expected to be replaced by a youngster in the team. Pant is obviously India’s future behind the stumps, but having said that, Ojha believes showing faith in seniors is equally important.

“If you look at Prithvi Shaw, he is totally out of this tournament, he is not there mentally. I don’t find the same thing with Wriddhiman Saha. Yes, we got out for 36. But the most important thing is that you have to show your belief in senior players. I feel Wriddhi can do wonders. One game and you do so many changes, I think it will hurt further. I feel you should give him one more chance,” Ojha said.

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Abhishek Patil