India is on the tour of Australia with experienced Parthiv Patel and rookie Rishbah Pant as their two-wicket keepers in the squad and Farokh Engineer has backed the Gujarat player to play in Test matches.
While Parthiv last played in South Africa earlier this year, the youngster Pant made his Test debut during the England tour thanks to Dinesh Karthik’s poor outing. The 21-year-old impressed everyone by getting off the mark in his Test career with a six over the bowler’s head. He also smacked an aggressive century in the fifth and final game where India were set an improbable target to chase down.
While speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of the 1886 Trophy at the Parsee Gymkhana, Engineer said, “India will never have a better chance of beating Australia. They are a pretty ordinary team at the moment, without Smith and Warner and we should make the best of this opportunity.”
When asked who is better among Parthiv and Pant for the wicketkeeping role, Engineer said, “Well I would go for a youngster. Rishabh Pant has shown lot of promise in batting. Parthiv is still fit. I think the best keeper should play Test match, ODI cricket a better batsman (can play). Rishabh is certainly my choice for ODIs but for a Test someone like Parthiv will be better, although he is 35”.
The 80-year-old also lashed out at the team’s approach towards the wicket-keepers in the modern game. He believed that at least in the Tests, one should be a wicket-keeper first and then the batsman which is not the case and is costing the teams big time.
“Unfortunately, we produce batsmen-keepers these days and not wicketkeeper-batsmen. In my time, you had to be a wicketkeeper first. You cannot let it side down. Even if you score big runs, but drop catches, it will cost you 200 runs. You have to be a wicketkeeper first,” Engineer added.