The Indian cricket team has been struggling on the wicketkeeping front since MS Dhoni took break from cricket after the ICC Cricket World Cup last year. Also Read - Pravin Tambe to Play For Trinbago Knight Riders in Caribbean Premier League
Dhoni’s shock Test retirement in 2014 led to Wriddhiman Saha becoming the first-choice keeper in the format but India are still in search of a reliable option in limited-overs cricket. Also Read - Virat Kohli is Being Dragged Into Absurd Allegations: Cornerstone CEO on Conflict of Interest Claims
The young Rishabh Pant was given a run across formats and was widely considered as the successor to Dhoni but his inconsistency with the bat and few errors behind the stumps mean he isn’t the first-choice anymore. Also Read - After UAE And Sri Lanka, Now New Zealand Offers to Host IPL 2020
In his absence India have experimented with KL Rahul who has done a decent job but it’s only a temporary solution.
Another former India wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel reckons the reason behind the current situation is that glovesman aren’t being given a consistent run in international cricket that would instil a sense of assurance.
“I don’t think we are not getting any fixed wicketkeeper. We have KS Bharat for India A … Rishabh Pant or KL Rahul … Saha is your number 1 Test wicketkeeper. But I genuinely feel we can get a bit more consistency so that you have the assurance,” Patel said during an Instagram chat.
“Everyone has it in them … It’s about getting a bit more consistent run,” he added.
Patel also said that a wicketkeeper should now be seen more of an allrounder who isn’t in the team just because of his/her skills behind the stumps. They should be a reliable option with the bat as well.
“I think wicket-keepers are allrounders. You have to keep a mindset that you’re a pure batsman and not a wicketkeeper. If you think your job will be done by just scoring 30-odd runs and then will keep. It will not happen anymore,” said Patel who has played 25 Tests, 38 ODIs and 2 T20Is for India so far.
He continued, “There has been an evolution totally. People want your wicketkeeper to score runs. You can then play with five bowlers in a Test. You will have more chances of getting 20 wickets.”
The 35-year-old also said there’s a need to strike a balance when one judges the performance of a ‘keeper.
“When I was on the Australia tour (in 2018), (MSK) Prasad was chairman, I had told him that when a wicketkeeper comes to team it’s only because of his runs he scored but when he is dropped it’s because of poor keeping. You have to strike the right balance. You have to keep that mindset,” he said.