India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant was included in the playing XI for the Melbourne Test on the back of the team’s dismal batting performance in Adelaide, to bolster the batting in place of Wriddhiman Saha. But question marks remained on his ability behind the stumps with the gloves.
He dropped a couple of easy chances, both of debutant Will Pucovski on 26 and 32 respectively, during the first day of the Sydney Test match. First from the bowling of off-spinner R Ashwin and then a juggling effort three overs later to deny fast bowler Mohammed Siraj a wicket.
Pucovski was finally dismissed for 62 by India’s debutant pacer Navdeep Saini, via LBW.
AUS v IND 2020-21: WATCH – Rishabh Pant drops Will Pucovski twice; leaves R Ashwin in disbelief
However, this didn’t stop experts and fans from criticizing Rishabh Pant’s faulty glovework, which hasn’t improved a lot. Incidentally, he was dropped from the white-ball India teams in early 2020 due to the same reason and was not the first-choice keeper for the Adelaide Test as well.
A rollercoaster of emotions for Will Pucovski! Initially given out, but on closer inspection he’s recalled to the crease! #OhWhatAFeeling@Toyota_Aus | #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/WgT5lCRjAE
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 7, 2021
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting pointed out Pant’s follies and told cricket.com.au, “The one’s (dropped catches) today are two that should be taken, simple as that. It’s probably lucky for Rishabh that Pucovski didn’t go on and make a big hundred or a double hundred and looking at the wicket, it looks like an unbelievable surface.”
“I’m sure when Rishabh put those catches down, he would have thought the worst and ‘here we go, he’s really going to make me pay’ but (Pucovski) didn’t today. I’ve said it all along, the knock-on Rishabh is always going to be on his keeping.
Since his debut in Test cricket, he’s dropped more catches than any other keeper in the world. That highlights he has got some work to do with his keeping,” highlighted Ponting.
Rishabh Pant was retained as keeper for SCG Test after taking four catches and scoring an up-tempo 29 in the series-leveling win at the MCG.