Rishabh Pant has become India’s first-choice wicket-keeper batter across formats after MS Dhoni’s retirement.
Rishabh Pant has become India’s first-choice wicket-keeper in all formats since MS Dhoni’s retirement | Photo: BCCI / ICC
In just a couple of years, star wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant has soon become Team India’s first-choice gloveman across all three formats. After going through a lean patch last year and going through a tough time due to fitness, Pant made a staggering comeback when he lit up the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia series.
Pant with innings of 97 and 89* helping India win the Gabba Test, returned to India’s white-ball sides as he made a comeback in ODIs and T20Is against England in March and with consistent performances, he has repaid skipper Virat Kohli and team management’s faith in him.
Pant, played all four Test matches against England recently and has become one of India’s biggest match-winners, especially in Test matches which has meant that the second wicket-keeper in the squad hasn’t got many chances.
Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had dominated India’s line-ups across formats as most of the wicket-keepers of his time like Dinesh Karthik, Saha didn’t get many opportunities during his time. But when he hung his boots in 2014 from Test Cricket, the search for his replacement began.
Saha got more opportunities regularly in Test matches. He established himself as one of the best glovemen behind the stumps but his low returns with the bat meant India went back to the likes of Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik during the period from 2015 to 2018.
Rishabh Pant announced himself during India’s previous tour to England hitting his maiden Test century and following it up with a century in Australia in the same year as he ensured he was not going to be dropped soon. Saha has got an opportunity here, a couple of them there but couldn’t establish himself and it has cost him the place in the playing XI.
Saha, who is turning 37 next month, is in the twilight of his career and if doesn’t get to play regularly could soon hang his boots from the game.