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3 reasons why Rishabh Pant should have been picked instead of Wriddhiman Saha

December 17, 2020

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After plenty of brainstorming in a time rife with speculation, the Indian team management picked Wriddhiman Saha to start for India in the Test Series. The 4-match Test Series is underway today with the teams battling it out at the Adelaide Oval. The addition of Wriddhiman Saha in the starting XI raised quite a few eyebrows. Various pundits felt that Rishabh Pant deserved to start for India ahead of the 1st Test. Here are 3 reasons why Pant should have started against Australia in the 1st Test Series:

1. Pant’s performance in his last tour against the Aussies

Pant was India’s 3rd highest run-scorer in the 2018-19 Test Series against Australia. The southpaw amassed a total of 350 runs at a terrific average of 58.33, behind only Cheteshwar Pujara. Furthermore, Pant also picked up a record 20 catches behind stumps in a single Test.  Meanwhile, Saha’s record has been dismal against Australia. In 3 Tests, Saha only managed to score 111 runs against the Aussies, with an average of less than 19. His highest score against Australia in 35 to date.

2. Pant adds something unique to the batting lineup

India has some solid batsmen in the form of Pujara, Rahane, and Hanuma Vihari. While these players are ardent followers of patience, Pant is not like them. Pant, with his ability to smack sixes at will, would add a different dimension to India’s batting order. Saha, however, is not known to smash balls out of the park. In fact, Saha is known more to be a defense batsman when it comes to Test Cricket.

Moreover, if Pant was included, he would be the only left-handed batsman in the entire team. Bowlers always find it difficult to bowl to left-right combinations, and Pant would have provided just that. With Kohli leaving prior to the 1st Test, India would want the services of a hard-hitting player in their team.

3. Pant’s superb performance in the warm-up game

Pant possesses this ability to break shackles at will. Test Cricket is a game of patience. However, sometimes, things get too slow, and you need players to smack some runs on the board. Pant has the ability to do that. He backed that by a whirlwind 103 off just 73 balls against Australia in the warmup game.

This innings also boosted Pant’s confidence, who was ready to give it his all against Australia in the 1st Test. India should have kept faith in the Delhi southpaw. Whether Pant gets to play in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy this year is yet to be known.

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