There was a plenty of hue and cry when Rishabh Pant was given his Test cap during the third Test against England at Trent Bridge. However, the 20-year-old passed his Test debut with flying colours.
While Rishabh played an impressive knock of 24 in the first innings, he took seven catches in the match. Although Pant continued to impress with the willow in his hand in the subsequent matches, he couldn’t quite live up to the expectations as a wicketkeeper.
Pant conceded a lot of runs through byes in the fourth and fifth Test against England. No wonder, a lot of cricket experts have pointed out the lack of footwork in his keeping technique.
Recently, legendary India wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani said Pant has a long way to go as he is yet to learn the basics of wicket-keeping.
"He has to be on his toes before the bowler takes a turn, sitting crouching down. These are the basics. He has to be crouching down, he has to wait till the ball pitches and then react. After that, he has to move according to the swing, bounce. Wicketkeeper's ability is judged only when he is standing up to spinners. Anyone can keep against the pacers since you have a lot of time to move and anticipate. You have a fraction of a second out there for these three-four coordinates to synchronize for a good collection in the form of stumping or a catch," Kirmani quoted as saying by PTI.
He feels Dhoni's talent is rare and a budding glovesman like Pant should not copy it.
"If you talk about collection of the throw. He has to go right behind the stumps, not what Dhoni does (sometimes he takes it from ahead of stumps). Pant is following him. It is not technique. You have to get behind in line with the stumps, your eye level should be in line with the bails to see where the ball is pitching so that you can judge it better," Kirmani explained.
At a time when teams are opting for batsmen who can keep, Kirmani said wicket-keeping was always a specialist's job.
"Wicket-keeper has to be born which I was not aware of when I started. I spoke to Alan Knott (former England wicketkeeper) for the first time in 1971. I asked him 'why do they say a wicketkeeper has to be born? He said 'it is because right from the initial stages, you got to have a good vision, be nimble and agile'. How many are like that in this Indian team? Even in my time I can remember only the great Eknath Solkar," he concluded.