Former Australia captain and head coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Capitals, Ricky Ponting on Thursday slammed Rishabh Pant's poor wicketkeeping during Day 1 of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pant, 23, dropped debutant Will Pucovski not once, but twice on rain-hit opening day, first off off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin then off pacer Mohammed Siraj on 26 and 32 respectively. Pucovski however failed to capitalise on the chances given and got out for 62, trapped by fellow debutant Navdeep Saini in the 35th over.
While analysing the day's play, Ponting said that India were indeed lucky that "that Pucovski didn't go on and make a big hundred or a double hundred and looking at the wicket, it looks like an unbelievable surface."
"The one's (dropped catches) today are two that should be taken, simple as that," Ponting told cricket.com.au. "I'm sure when Rishabh put those catches down, he would have thought the worst and 'here we go, he's really going to make me pay' but (Pucovski) didn't today."
Ponting works closely with Pant in the Delhi stable, and was in fact, one of the few who had called for the young wicketkeeper's inclusion in the Indian XI after Wriddhiman Saha's performance failed to live up to the expectations in the series opener.
"I've said it all along, the knock on Rishabh is always going to be on his keeping," the former Australia captain continued. "Since his debut in Test cricket, he's dropped more catches than any other keeper in the world. That highlights he has got some work to do with his keeping."
For the record, Pant has 65 dismissals in 14 Test matches so far. But remains a fraught behind the wickets.
Watch both his dropped catches:
Australia won the toss and opted to bat. At the draw of bails, they were 166/2 in 55 overs with Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith unbeaten on 67 and 31 runs respectively.
Australia won the first Test in Adelaide. India won the second Test in Melbourne. The fourth and final Test in Brisbane is scheduled to start on January 15.
Australia: David Warner, Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
India: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini.