NEW DELHI: Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha and young opener Prithvi Shaw are unlikely to be picked for the remaining Tests in Australia as India look to ring in wholesale changes after the batting debacle in Adelaide.
It is understood that young Shubman Gill, after a couple of impressive knocks in the warm-up games, is seen as a replacement of Shaw as senior star Rohit Sharma will not be available until the third Test match in Sydney.
With Saha’s batting not giving any confidence to the dressing room, the team management will certainly look at Pant, who had scored a hundred Down Under during his previous tour, as keeping might not be a factor on pitches with firm and even bounce.
KL Rahul and Mohammed Siraj are the two others in the fray to enter the playing XI and those would be forced changes due to the absence of skipper Virat Kohli and senior pacer, Mohammed Shami, who is out with a fractured wrist.
The 36-year-old Saha could well be running the last lap of his international career as young and feisty Pant is set to be preferred by the team management over the next three Test matches and if he does well, then against England as well.
As far as Saha is concerned, his inept batting in SENA countries hasn’t gone unnoticed (he doesn’t have a half-century there), but former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that during his regime, certain plans were chalked out on the Saha-Pant conundrum.
“Look, our committee was clear that Rishabh Pant will be our first-choice ‘keeper in places like England and Australia. Only when we are looking at matches in India, where you don’t need batting after number six most times, you can have a specialist ‘keeper,” Prasad told PTI on Sunday.
“I believe Rishabh has worked on his fitness issues during the past month and looked in good touch during the pink-ball practice game. So I would agree with the team management if they give Rishabh a go for the next three Tests,” Prasad said.
Shaw might have to go back to the drawing board.
As far as Shaw is concerned, everything that can go wrong has gone for the 21-year-old Mumbaikar, whose technique,
temperament and overall attitude towards the game has raised some serious question marks in the corridors of Indian cricket.
If sources in the know of things are to be believed, despite his slump in form, Shaw was preferred over an in-form Gill because he had played in the last series in New Zealand and needed to be given at least one more game.