Legendary Sunil Gavaskar believes that Indian team management should prefer an aggressive Rishabh pant over a technically solid Wriddhiman Saha for the role of wicket keeper in the four-game test series against Australia from Thursday. Gavaskar, who is fastest to hit 10,000 test runs, said Pant India will give more flexibility in the first test, the only day-night game, if there is a 73-ball-103-run hit in the second warm-up game Adelaide to be played.
“It’s going to be a tough question for the tour selection committee as Rishabh played in all four friendly matches four years ago. He also turned 100 and seemed to get under the skin of the Australian players with his chirping behind the stumps.”
“… when you left office a few days ago, I think it was management’s choice,” said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar said he prefers Pant to a more accomplished goalkeeper in Saha as Australian pitches aren’t as demanding when it comes to holding wickets.
“When you play on fields where the wicketkeeper has to withstand the stumps where the ball is sticking out a bit, you tend to pick your best wicketkeeper. In that case, Wriddhiman Saha would be the obvious choice,” he said.
“But India will have pacemakers here where you can lag behind and have little more time. I have a feeling they will choose Rishabh,” said Gavaskar as he previewed the series named after him and Allan Border to be broadcast live by Sony Networks.
Both Gavaskar and Border battled Shubman Gill over Prithvi Shaw to open the series with Mayank Agarwal.
“… India is a bit shaky at the top of the order. They don’t know who they’re going to go with. Mayank Agarwal is a certainty, of course. But who’s the other opener – Shubman Gill or Prithvi Shaw?” Said Gavaskar.
“With uncertainty at the top, they want to increase their eyelashes and so Rishabh will play pant. I hope he (Rishabh) plays with 6 because then you can pick 5 bowlers to get 20 Australian wickets,” he added.
In the two warm-up games, Gill’s scores – 0, 29, 43, 65 – got better with each stroke, while Shaw – with scores of 0, 19, 40, 3 – didn’t look good.
And Border was mighty impressed with how Gill turned out.
“I’ve been in Sydney for the past few days and watched the Indian team against Australia A. I was impressed with Gill,” said the former Australian captain.
“I really think there is something about him, his technique. I know he’s young so he can play a few rash punches here and there, but he looks a seriously good player, this boy. He would be mine Choice among the guys that i am saw.
“I know you (Rate) Shaw but it seems like he’s playing a shot. He looks good on flat courses against the new ball but in Australia you have to be a little bit more careful about your shot choices,” added he added.
Gavaskar agreed with Border, saying Shaw needed to get back to the drawing board and work on his weaknesses – inconsistency and poor shot selection.
“I agree with AB (Allan Border). I think he (Shaw) needs to spend a little more time evaluating his batting. As an opening batsman, you have to give yourself time to see what the field is doing. See, what the bowlers do, “he said.
“Trying to hit the way he is currently hitting won’t make him a consistent player. Yes, he’ll do runs every now and then, but he’ll have to step up his defense.”
Gavaskar was pretty sure about the other opener though, saying Mayank Agarwal was the player to look out for on the series.
“For me, Mayank Aggarwal is the player to watch out for from India. He came to Australia two years ago for the final test matches and actually showed the way because India hadn’t gotten started until then,” the Gavaskar said.
“He showed how to go against Nathan Lyon. He just kept getting stronger. Look at the season where he scored a double hundred against South Africa last year.
“He’s got two doubles in a row if I’m not mistaken (two double centuries in three games). So he’s the guy I’m really looking forward to on this series,” added Gavaskar.
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