Since hanging up his boots in the traditional format, MS Dhoni has left a huge void to fill in. The dilemma of who can replace the Ranchi stalwart has been haunting Team India for quite a while now. Even in the limited-overs format, Dhoni’s absence has led to the team management trying several options for the wicketkeeper’s role.
Players like Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul have been tried by the Indian selectors since the 2019 World Cup. However, no one has yet been projected as a true successor of Dhoni.
Amid the wicketkeeper conundrum, former Australia international Brad Hogg has dished out his two cents on the matter. According to the chinaman bowler, Pant should be picked over Saha despite the latter being a better wicketkeeper.
“Let’s firstly look at who is the better keeper. We have to go to Saha first because he’s the best. Why? Because he stays low. When the ball comes, he doesn’t move till the last moment, he moves with soft hands, and he gives,” Brad Hogg said on his Youtube channel Hogg’s Vlog.
“Also, he’s got very nimble feet, where he’s quick at down leg side and to take those stumpings. He’s got the good reach, and quick hands to come back and take the stumpings. And when he’s up to the stumps, those quick catches off the edge, he generally takes most of them,” added Hogg.
You need the No.7 to come out and take the game on: Brad Hogg
35-year-old Saha has donned the Indian jersey in 37 Tests, amassing 1238 runs at an average of 30. However, according to Hogg, Pant’s explosiveness should play a key role in his selection in the team. Hogg also said that a batsman’s explosiveness moves the game forward and gives the bowlers more time to scalp 20 wickets in a Test.
“Pant’s batting is more explosive than Saha. If you look at India’s top order, their top five do the bulk of the world. What you need from your No. 7 is someone to come out and take the game on, and get as many runs as quickly as possible,” opined Hogg.
“It moves the game forward and gives the bowlers more time to take 20 wickets, which you need in a Test match. So, for me, even if Pant misses a few stumpings that Saha would get, he puts the team in a much better position than Saha to win the Test match with his bat,” he added.
Talking about India’s preferred choice in the limited-overs format, Hogg said that KL Rahul has rightly utilized the opportunities given to him. However, Rahul, because of his height, is slightly slow down the leg side while keeping the wickets, said Hogg.
“KL Rahul has shown he can keep in the shorter formats with the opportunities he has got earlier in the year. Much like Saha, he is quick with the hands. But because of his height, he’s slightly slower down the leg side. Pant is a little more flat-footed. He’s got hard hands and he snatches more at the ball than the other two,” said the 49-year-old.
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