Former India wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia feels “talented” Rishabh Pant needs to pull up his socks and improve upon his keeping skills to avoid “minor hiccups” in match situations.
Right from the beginning of his career, Pant has been facing flack for his keeping skills and Mongia, who played 44 Tests and 140 ODIs for India, said it’s time the young stumper needs to focus on his basics to cement his place in the national team.
“Still there is a long way to go. He (Pant) is very talented. Keep practicing, keep playing all the matches and whatever opportunities that you get. (Wicket) keeping is one thing where you need to keep playing matches and you can’t do much in practice, there are hardly balls coming when you are keeping in nets,” Mongia said.
“When you are keeping in the nets, keep as if you are playing in the match, this minor hiccups will come but he needs to make sure that he improves and works on it.
“And lesser the mistakes a keeper makes, the better he becomes. He gives more confidence to the bowler and that is what he has to do,” added the Baroda-based former cricketer.
Mongia was speaking on the sidelines of an event where the Rotary Club of Mumbai (Khar) extended support to the upcoming Road Safety World Series, in which the former India stumper will feature.
Asked whether the selectors’ decision to give a longer rope to Pant was a wise one, Mongia said, “There are few contenders and there is no doubt. He (Pant) has to pull up his socks as far as keeping and batting is concerned.
“It is up to the selectors and the team management on how long they want to give somebody a long rope. But yes, enough opportunities have to be given to every player to make his mark. After that, if he is not able to sustain, then probably go ahead with the second choice.”
Mongia also feels that the real test for wicket-keepers is in the longest format of the game.
“They (Ishan Kishan, KS Bharat) are all young guys, still lot to be desired. If you compare, the real test starts when you start keeping in the subcontinent in Test matches,” he said.
“(Keeping in) ODIs and T20s are really not that testing as hardly the ball comes. But Test matches are a real test for the keepers, the more you play, the more you get an experience like Wriddhiman Saha. I think he (Saha) is one of the best right now.
“He has made a strong comeback and done well. But yes keep is a thankless job and they all are good young promising keepers.”
Asked about the concept of day-night Tests, Mongia, a traditionalist, said: “See I am a bit of a traditional person. I am not very much into day-night cricket, because it will be totally different when you play in the afternoon and it will be totally different in the night.
“But it all depends on when you start. I still believe as an old cricketer I would like to play a Test match in the day time and that’s how it should be played.”
India is set to play their first-ever day-night Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata from November 22.