Saha to replace Pant in first test against South Africa

Wednesday 02nd October 2019 07:13 EDT

Wriddhiman Saha will take over the wicketkeeping gloves from Rishabh Pant in the first Test of the 3-match series against South Africa starting on October 2 in Vizag. Saha had played the last of his 32 Test matches against South Africa in Cape Town before he was sidelined due to an injury. Rishabh Pant, the 21-year-old daredevil batsman from Delhi, played 11 Test matches as Saha's replacement and gave a good account of himself with the bat in England and Australia.

In England, Pant scored hundred before he played some gutsy knock in Australia including his Test best of 159 not out. Pant was also involved in several banters with the Australian batsmen from behind the stumps. Between the tours of England and Australia, Pant smashed identical scores of 92 in two Test matches against West Indies at home.

However, on the tour of West Indies, Pant scored 24, 7 and 27 in three innings but it was the way he threw his wicket away across formats that irked the captain and coach. India skipper Virat Kohli confirmed India have decided to go back to Wriddhiman Saha, who is a far better wicketkeeper than Pant and by all means, a reliable middle-order batsman.

"Saha's keeping credentials are there for everyone to see. He's played well for us whenever he's got a chance with the bat for us also. It was unfortunate that he was out for such a long period with an injury, and according to me he's the best keeper in the world. In these conditions, and with what he's done for us in the past, he'll start for us," Kohli said.

Saha does not have the flamboyance of Pant but he has more often than not got the job done. In 32 Tests, he has scored 1,164 runs including 3 hundreds and 5 fifties.

India playing XI for 1st Test: Virat Kohli (Capt), Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Md Shami


Injury rules Bumrah out

India's frontline pacer Jasprit Bumrah, recently hailed as the “most complete bowler in the world” by captain Virat Kohli, has sustained a minor stress fracture in his lower back and been ruled out of the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa. The injury, according to BCCI was detected during a routine radiological screening.

“Bumrah will now undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and will be monitored by the BCCI medical team,” the board said. The bowler, incidentally, had been rested for the just-concluded T20 International series against the touring South Africans. “It’s very minor but nobody wants to take any risks with Jasprit. There’s stress in the lower back region and it’s important to monitor it closely in order to assess future repercussions. That’s the reason he has been given a break,” sources said.

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