Harsha Bhogle on Friday expressed disappointment over Team India’s selection in the first Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. The visitors decided to include Rishabh Pant as the specialist wicketkeeper in the playing XI for the first Test in Wellington, dropping Wriddhiman Saha, who had kept wickets in India’s last two Test matches against Bangladesh. The selection did not go down well with Harsha Bhogle who took to Twitter to slam the criteria for selecting wicketkeepers in the playing XI in Test matches.
“Just up and see Saha is left out. We have just told every young keeper in India not to bother becoming the best in the world behind the stumps and instead focus on getting a few more runs in front of them. Disappointed,” he tweeted.
Am waiting to see Shreya Ghoshal left out of a major concert because the other girl could strum the guitar a bit better!! #Saha
Bhogle further added: “Am waiting to see Shreya Ghoshal left out of a major concert because the other girl could strum the guitar a bit better!!” Bhogle however, went on to delete this particular tweet a few hours later.
The commentator then clarified that his remarks are not against Pant and said: “Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about Pant. Just think in tests you pick your best five batsmen, best four bowlers, best keeper and think about a secondary skill for number six, if at all. I hope he does well because he is a gifted young player but feel for Saha.”
Bhogle, though, went on to praise R Ashwin’s selection in the team and said: “Good to see Ashwin in the side. He is India’s best spinner. And wonderful that Ishant is fit and good to go. He is a key component of this bowling attack with his ability to bowl a long spell.”
Rishabh Pant had not played a single limited overs game – 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs – on this tour to New Zealand and there were no indications of him being included even in the first Test match, making the decision to leave out Saha even more surprising. Saha had been outstanding behind the stumps in India’s last Test series against Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Kyle Jamieson had a dream introduction to Test cricket with three wickets, including the prized scalps of Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, in the opening two sessions of the first Test against India in Wellington on Friday.
The final session of play was washed out because of rain and thunderstorms as India reached 122 for 5 at stumps on Day 1 at Wellington. Ajinkya Rahane (38*) was the exception despite wickets tumbling at the other end. The other Indian batsman who looked good against the swinging delivery was opener Mayank Agarwal. But he was dismissed for 34 by Tim Southee after Lunch. For New Zealand, debutant Kyle Jamieson was the star of the day for New Zealand, who got the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari. The lanky fast bowler finished with 3 for 38 after New Zealand captain Kane Williamson opted to field first.
Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant will resume their battle against the New Zealand seamers on Day 2.