Rishabh Pant has had a tough time behind the stumps in the series conceding 76 byes in six innings. But, he took some good catches in his debut Test to finish with seven dismissals at Southampton.
Rishabh Pant has had a tough time behind the stumps in the series conceding 76 byes in six innings. But, he took some good catches in his debut Test to finish with seven dismissals at Southampton.

Former Indian wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia believes that it is a wrong policy to pick young wicketkeepers on the basis of their IPL form and reckoned that current Indian keeper Rishabh Pant needs to work on the basics of wicketkeeping.

“He (Pant) is still very raw and I think it’s a wrong policy to pick players based on their IPL form, said Mongia, who kept wickets for India in 44 Tests.

“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,” added the 48-year-old.

Pant has had a tough time behind the stumps in the series conceding 76 byes in six innings. But, he took some good catches in his debut Test to finish with seven dismissals at Southampton.

However, Mongia pointed out why he might struggle while keeping to spinners.

“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. Against pacers, he is just diving from the spot,” he added.

Former Indian wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta also echoed similar sentiments.

“I think against seamers, he is trying to judge the angle of the delivery from the hand. You can’t do that in England. Also he needs to be stable in his position,” said Dasgupta, who played eight Tests for India.

Looking ahead, both Mongia and Dasgupta felt that Indian team management should go back to either Parthiv Patel or Dinesh Karthik – keeping in mind the Australia tour – even though that might be a short term plan.

“I think Parthiv was the second keeper in South Africa. How come he is not in the scheme of things? I think they should try Parthiv but it’s up to the selectors. I don’t know why there aren’t long-term camps at NCA for young keepers,” said Mongia.

Dasgupta called the selection a tricky one.

“I guess the situation is fluid. Do the selectors want to go back to Parthiv? He recently scored 80 in a Duleep Trophy game. Now with Parthiv or even DK (Dinesh Karthik) you know what to expect. So, if you are looking at the next six Tests (including four against Australia), I don’t mind having the two veterans.”

Karthik who started the England tour had an average series behind the stumps and managed just 21 runs from four innings with the bat. Parthiv had travelled to South Africa as backup to Wriddhiman Saha.

However, Dasgupta did add that Pant should be given more chances. “Look, Rishabh 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”, he added.

With Saha not expected to play for the next few months after his shoulder surgery, India have a tough ask to fill the wicketkeeper’s slot for the Australia series.

Another name that is doing the rounds is that of Andhra’s Srikar Bharat, who is rated higher than Pant when it comes to wicketkeeping skills. The 24-year-old, part of the India A team, also scored 105 against Australia A earlier this week.

“Well Bharat is the best young keeper in the country. But then you need to be very cautious. If selectors think he is ready then it has to be till Australia Test matches. The policy needs to be spelt out,” said Dasgupta about Bharat.