Saha to replace Pant for Test series opener against South Africa

back icon
safari
01 Oct 2019 | 07:57 AM
authorPTI

Saha to replace Pant for Test series opener against South Africa

According to me, he is the best keeper in the world. With these conditions he starts for us, Kohli said on Saha

heart

Share

Wriddhiman Saha will replace the struggling Rishabh Pant in the Indian line-up for the first Test against South Africa, captain Virat Kohli announced here on Tuesday, calling the Bengal player the “best wicketkeeper” in the world. 

The 34-year-old Saha was out of the team for a long time due to injury and came back into the side during the two-Test series in the West Indies in August. However, he did not get to play there and Pant kept wickets in both the games. 

“Yes Saha is fit and fine to go. He is going to start the series for us. His keeping credentials are for everyone to see. He has done well with the bat whenever he has got a chance,” said Kohli on the eve of the first Test. 

“It was unfortunate that he was out with an injury. According to me, he is the best keeper in the world. With these conditions he starts for us,” he added. 

Saha last played a Test during the South Africa tour in January 2018 before being hampered by a shoulder injury, followed by a thumb problem. 

Pant burst on to the scene in his absence and with centuries in England and Australia, became the team’s number one wicketkeeper in the longest format. 

However, the 21-year-old has been coping criticism for reckless stroke-making and that may have have been a factor in the team management’s decision to start with Saha. Saha has played 32 Tests, scoring 1164 runs at 30.63. 

Kohli said the team management wanted to ease Saha back into the team and that is one of the reasons he did not play in the Caribbean. 

“We felt like Rishabh, given the opportunities, had done well. Although Saha was always going to start but we felt like just let him ease back into things rather than just forcing him into starting immediately. 

“We all felt he has just come back, although he is keeping well, batting well but, it’s fair to give Rishabh a few more opportunities because of what he has done in the past season for us,” Kohli explained.

The skipper said Saha was always going to be the first choice in the traditional format. 

“...Saha was always the one we would back as a pure keeper in Test cricket. He has done well under pressure situations in the past for us, so it was just about finding the right opportunity and the moment to bring him back in. 

“And you need to be wary in a team environment where you understand when to bring a player back and when to give another guy more opportunities” he reasoned. 

“I felt for now, it’s the right time for Saha to come back and get into his zone,” said Kohli. 

The skipper also made it clear that Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be two specialist spinners in the playing eleven with Hanuma Vihari being the third spin option, leaving out Kuldeep Yadav. Jadeja had played both the Tests in the West Indies while Ashwin warmed the bench. 

Asked about Ashwin’s current role in the team, Kohli said: “Yes, Ashwin will start. Ashwin and Jadeja both will start here. Look Jaddu we felt was in a better zone as far as performing overseas and what he has done in the past season for the team. 

“Wherever the conditions provide us to go with two spinners, Ash is always going to be a threat and in home conditions with his batting and the way he bowls as well he is always going to be starting with Jadeja. That was a no brainer for us,” he added.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Wriddhiman SahaIndiaindia vs south africa testsouth africarishabh pantVirat kohli

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
No one learns algebra in Class I, Pant will improve gradually: Saha
Saha was all praise for the 23-year-old Pant whose 89 not out on the fifth day sealed the match for India at the Gabba to win the series 2-1
userPTI
22 Jan 2021
safari
NEWS
Rotation between Saha, Pant unfair on both, feels Gambhir
India have opted for Rishabh Pant ahead of Wriddhiman Saha for the MCG Test against Australia
userPTI
25 Dec 2020
safari
NEWS
India prefer Shaw over Gill, Saha instead of Pant
India's playing eleven for pink-ball Test against Australia announced
userPTI
16 Dec 2020
safari
NEWS
SRH likely to "wait and watch" on Wriddhiman Saha's groin niggle
There is a possibility that Saha may be advised to skip the next two games
userPTI
28 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
Lockdown Drills: Father helping me with catching practice, says Wriddhiman
Asked if this forced break feels like the time he nursed a shoulder surgery in 2018-19, Saha said that it's better than that phase
userPTI
04 Jun 2020
safari
NEWS
We know how to get Pujara out: Saha
The India wicketkeeper will be playing his first-ever Ranji Trophy final
userPTI
08 Mar 2020
safari
NEWS
Wriddhiman Saha undergoes surgery for fractured finger
The wicketkeeper though is expected to be fit in time for the New Zealand Tests in February 2020
userPTI
27 Nov 2019
safari
NEWS
Ganguly can bring lot of improvements as BCCI president: Saha
The former Indian captain will take charge as BCCI president soon
userPTI
19 Oct 2019
safari
NEWS
Umesh: Owe Saha a 'treat'
The Indian wicketkeeper plucked two excellent catches down the leg-side off Umesh Yadav's bowling
userPTI
13 Oct 2019
safari
NEWS
Shami has mastered the art of reverse swing: Rohit
Shami picked up his fifth five wicket haul in Tests as India won the first Test
userPTI
07 Oct 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved