World Cup 2019: We need to use Pant in an appropriate position, says fielding coach Sridhar

During the game against Bangladesh, there was M.S. Dhoni the master, Karthik the comeback man, Rishabh Pant the rookie and K.L. Rahul the part-time wicket-keeper.

Rishabh Pant kept wickets when MS Dhoni was off the field for a brief period.   -  GETTY IMAGES

India suddenly has a surfeit of wicket-keepers. And with Dinesh Karthik getting a spot during the World Cup clash against Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Tuesday, the number of glove-men went up to four in the playing eleven!

There was M.S. Dhoni the master, Karthik the comeback man, Rishabh Pant the rookie and K.L. Rahul the part-time wicket-keeper.

There is an advantage there because if your main stumper is injured or has to take a small break like Dhoni did briefly during the course of the contest, another cricketer is ready to stand behind the stumps. Pant donned the wicket-keeping paraphernalia when the former Indian captain was away.

The downswing is that a wicket-keeper is usually adept in the inner-circle but may lack the skills to monitor the far corners.

India’s fielding coach R. Sridhar has the unenviable task of finding ideal slots for wicket-keepers masquerading as fielders. Rahul is fine both in the inner-circle and at the deep while Karthik was used in positions near the batsman.

Pant, though, struggled in the outfield, and Sridhar, who met the media at the ICC’s mixed zone, explained: “A lot of work has to go into him, first of all he needs to improve his technique in throwing and he also needs to get in to the mind of being an outfielder.

"For now, we will have to use him in the appropriate position. That is why Virat (Kohli) and M.S. (Dhoni) are keen to keep him in the right place. In the previous game (against England) he saved five runs which is a bonus and he took a catch as well. So no complaints.” 

And as for Karthik, Sridhar said: “Dinesh is a reasonably good fielder. He pulls off some good saves at backward point. That's a big plus for us.”

In the days ahead, Pant and the members of his tribe are bound to get extra attention as the Men in Blue gear up for the final phase.

But first there is Saturday’s face-off with Sri Lanka at Headingley (Leeds) to counter.

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