The concussion on Rishabh Pant’s head during one of the ODIs against Australia, earlier this year, has opened a brand new set of challenges for the Indian team management, regarding the first-choice wicketkeeper.
In the absence of Pant, KL Rahul has taken over the role of the finisher as well as first choice-wicketkeeper in ODI cricket.
Pant had to warm the benches throughout the limited-overs leg of the New Zealand tour before getting an opportunity to bat in the Test series.
Looking at the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy, former Australian international Brad Hogg has shared his opinion on India’s first-choice wicketkeeper conundrum.
Hogg claimed that Wriddhiman Saha is the better keeper of the lot due to his short stature, nimble feet, good reach, soft and quick hands.
However, the ex-chinaman bowler pointed out Rahul’s extra height would make it difficult to grab takes on the leg side in comparison to Pant and Saha.
Further, Hogg believes that appointing wicketkeeping duties would affect Rahul’s batting as he is not used to donning to gloves at the first-class level.
“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,” Hogg said on his Vlog on YouTube.
“So who is the ideal player to keep wickets in all three formats?” questioned Hogg. “In Tests, I wouldn’t have KL Rahul keeping because he doesn’t do enough of it at first-class level. It would put pressure on his batting, I’d be two afraid that his batting will fall away because of the extra workload. So, you’ve got to go with either Saha or Pant,” he added.
Hogg gave Pant’s case weight due to his potential with the bat. The flamboyant southpaw already notched up impressive centuries against England at Oval and Australia at Sydney, in his brief career thus far.
“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 much runs as quickly as possible. 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,” Hogg concluded.