India announced their squads for all the three formats in the West Indies tour that will kick off on August 3 with a T20I in Florida, United States. Virat Kohli’s side will take part in three T20Is, as many ODIs and two Test matches in the month-long tour. The selectors went for a number of changes in the three squads. In the wicket-keeping department, Rishabh Pant was picked in all the three formats while Wriddhiman Saha found his place back in the national side by being picked for the Test squad.
Saha had last played for India in South Africa in early 2018 and was ruled out for a long time with a string of injuries – hamstring, thumb and then shoulder for which he had to undergo surgery. The 34-year-old keeper played in the Indian Premier League 2018 but then went out of even domestic cricket only to return in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year.
However, returning to the national side became challenging for the veteran as Pant rose fast through the ranks in this time. Although he is yet to impress with his keeping skills, Pant’s two-Test centuries – both on foreign soil – have earned him quite a few supporters. Especially, his 159 not out against Australia in Sydney earlier this year went a long way in cementing his place in the longer format.
‘India need to fix who is their No.1 keeper’
Saha’s return to the national side is happy news for him as chief selector MSK Prasad said he deserved a comeback opportunity. But veteran cricket commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle has some reservations. There is no doubt the absence of veterans like MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik made Saha’s return easier but according to Bhogle, it is important for India to prioritise who their No. 1 wicketkeeper is.
I hope the selectors make it clear who the no 1 keeper for the tests is. Saha is clearly the better keeper, was the incumbent when injured. But if Pant is the keeper they want to go with, there is little to be gained by having Saha hanging around.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 21, 2019
In a tweet, Bhogle said Saha is the better keeper of the two and was the incumbent when he got injured. He also added that if India have decided to stick to Pant as their main keeper, then having Saha hanging around will serve little purpose. The situation is indeed a bit tricky for the Bengal keeper. On one hand, he has found himself back into the national side but at the same time, he knows that he is no more the main keeper in the side. Saha has played in 32 Tests as against Pant’s nine.
With Andhra’s KS Bharat also gradually coming into the reckoning for the keeper’s position, Saha might still find it tough in the long run.
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