rishabh pant
Rishabh Pant (AFP Photo)

Former captain Mohammad Azharuddin ranks Rishabh Pant above Dinesh Karthik in wicketkeeping skills saying India should be preferring him to don the gloves in T20Is.

Against West Indies on Sunday, it was the senior pro Dinesh Karthik who kept the wickets as India registered a five-wicket win to take 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series against West Indies.

“One got to bank on Pant,” Azharuddin was quoted as saying by PTI on Sunday. “If he is good enough to keep wickets in Test matches in England than why not T20? And no doubt that he showed better skills in England than Karthik,”

However, questions have been raised on the 21-year-old Pant’s ability behind the stumps but Azhar feels the youngster will only get better with time.

“I honestly feel Rishabh should have kept wickets today (1st T20I). When you are a keeper, you should keep wickets. He is a good player. He has done well. The more he keeps, the more he will learn. I think his keeping needs to improve a lot though,” he said.

He praised left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav who was the star with a man-of-the-match performance that saw him returning bowling figures of 3/13. “Kuldeep has fast emerged as a good bowler. Now he is bowling well and improving everyday. In the years to come, he will be a major force,” Azhar observed.

Meanwhile, Azhar ringing the bell ahead of the T20I at Eden Gardens hasn’t gone down well with Gautam Gambhir who has thrashed BCCI, CoA and Cricket Association of Bengal for inviting the Hyderabad batsman alluding to his match-fixing past.

“India may have won today at Eden but I am sorry @bcci, CoA &CAB lost. Looks like the No Tolerance Policy against Corrupt takes a leave on Sundays! I know he was allowed to contest HCA polls but then this is shocking….The bell is ringing, hope the powers that be are listening,” Gambhir posted on his Twitter account.