Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin feels Rishabh Pant should have kept wickets instead of Dinesh Karthik in the first T20 International against the West Indies here on Sunday as the young stumper needs to improve his glove-work.
“I honestly feel Rishabh Pant should have kept wickets today. When you’re a keeper you got to keep wickets,” Azhar told reporters at the end of the West Indies’ innings.
The tourists were restricted to a paltry 109/8 in 20 overs after skipper Rohit Sharma chose to field first.
Karthik kept wickets as Pant, who is expected to take over the gloves from MS Dhoni when the latter calls it a day, played as a specialist batsman.
Azhar said he was not impressed by the 21-year old’s glovework in England and needs to keep wickets on a regular basis to get better.
“He is a good player. He has done well. The more he keeps wickets, the more he will learn. I think his keeping needs to improve a lot. In England, he batted well but his keeping left a lot to be desired,” added the 55-year old.
Kuldeep Yadav returned superb figures of 3/13 in his four overs on Sunday, also completing 100 wickets in T20 cricket.
Kuldeep has fast emerged as a good bowler. Now he is bowling well and improving everyday. In the years to come he will be a major force,” Azhar said.
Azhar was also full of praise for stand-in captain Rohit Sharma, terming the Mumbai batsman as a “cool” customer who has shown his leadership skills whenever given a chance.
“He is calm and cool. Whenever he is given a chance, he has proved that he is a good captain. In the Asia Cup also, he did really well. He is improving everyday. He is a very cool captain.”
In the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli who, like in this T20 series, also opted out of the Asia Cup, Rohit led India to the title beating Bangladesh in the final.
Asked about India’s chances in Australia, Azhar reiterated that if Kohli and Co. can bowl and bat well Down Under, they have every chance of winning.
“India has a good chance in Australia. we have good batsmen and bowlers. If we can combine both together and do well, we have a chance,” he said.
Azhar added that the West Indies players lacked intent on Sunday and made too many mistakes.
“Their batting has been very poor. There is no direction. The effort is not there. Sometimes you need to use common sense. I thought they would bat wall today but they played too many shots too often.”