When the Indian team was announced for the series against West Indies after the World Cup, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that they were looking at Rishabh Pant as the primary wicket-keeper batsman across all formats and were willing to give him an extended rope to prosper in the role. However, for all the chances, Pant has not been able to nail down his spot and there have been question marks raised over his temperament.
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has now said that for the home series against South Africa, they are also mulling Wriddhiman Saha as the first-choice wicket-keeper for the Test matches since they need good hands in Indian conditions.
Final call to be made by the selectors
He, however, was quick to add, that the final call will be made by the team management and the option they would want to consider when the matches begin depend on the conditions at hand.
"To begin with, Rishabh is the first wicketkeeper. But the team management is a bit wary about his wicketkeeping skills on Indian pitches. So, we have left it to the team management," Prasad stated after he announced the Indian Test squad.
There is little doubt over the potential of Rishabh Pant, but the young man has not been in good form in the recent times and on Indian pitches, where spinners will take more prominence, the pedigree of Wriddhiman Saha as a wicket-keeper will be needed.
However, Pant does have the confidence and backing of Indian captain Virat Kohli who said that they wanted to give the young man a longer rope and freedom in order to express himself.
"We are looking at Rishabh as the future, definitely. Got a lot of skill and talent. It's about winning and finishing games like these. In International cricket, you need to tackle pressure differently," Kohli said at the post-match presentation after the final T20I in West Indies.
Prasad did mention that the final call about the wicket-keeper was to be made by the management which includes Kohli and Shastri and it would be hence, interesting to see if they do go ahead and include Saha, who is an extremely safe wicket-keeper, or give Rishabh Pant another series to stake his claim.
India will take on South Africa in a 3-match Test series. They are currently leading the World Test Championship points table with 120 points and this will be another opportunity to consolidate their position at the top of the table.