Free Press Journal

Ex-India ‘keepers want clear selection policy, feel Rishabh needs more time


India's wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who's taken five catches on his test debut, keeping wicket during play on the second day of the third Test cricket match between England and India at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, central England on August 19, 2018. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO ASSOCIATION WITH DIRECT COMPETITOR OF SPONSOR, PARTNER, OR SUPPLIER OF THE ECB

New Delhi : Rishabh Pant’s glovework has been shoddy in England and he needs to cover a lot of ground before he can be trusted as a Test-level wicket-keeper, some of the former India stumpers said Tuesday.

Pant has conceded an unprecedented 76 byes in six innings in the ongoing Test series vs England although at least 20-25 of those runs were not exactly his fault.

After watching the 20-year-old closely, former India ‘keepers Nayan Mongia, Kiran More and Deep Dasgupta believe that the Rourkee youngster is still a “work in progress”. But at the same time, they want the selectors to have a clear cut policy on young keepers given that Wriddhiman Saha is unlikely to start playing before another three to four months.

“He (Pant) is still very raw and I think it’s a wrong policy to pick players based on their IPL form. His basics of keeping are not correct.

“My concern is if he is not able to keep to spinners in England, he will have problems on fourth and fifth day tracks in the sub-continent,” Mongia, who has kept wickets to the legendary Anil Kumble, said.

Mongia then dissected his keeping against Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja. “You need suppleness in shoulders. His shoulders are stiff. Now in England, at least the bounce is not uneven. But the test will be against Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep on the uneven fourth and fifth day tracks in India,” he said.

While Mongia spoke about recalling Parthiv, another former cricketer and analyst Dasgupta feels that it could at best be a short-term policy. “Look, Pant is your long-term future and he needs to be nurtured well. Yes, there are a lot of areas in keeping that he needs to work on but I don’t want to see a player being dumped after one series,” Dasgupta, who has watched a lot of domestic cricket as broadcaster, opined.

Kiran More, who has been a former chairman of selectors, wants Pant to get another chance against the Caribbeans at Rajkot. “I would ideally give him one more Test match. I feel for the boy. I believe he has been fast-tracked into Test cricket and England is not an easy place to keep wickets.

“But  I would look at the positives. He hasn’t dropped any catches even though he has conceded byes. He is a terrific talent,” More said.