Peter Lalor has taken aim at the situation surrounding the Indian Test team, centred around Rishabh Pant.
Lalor, the chief cricket writer for The Australian, believes the fact that Pant was fit enough to bat on day five despite not being able to keep during Australia’s second innings in Sydney is “rubbish”.
Pant sat out to deal with an elbow injury while Wriddhiman Saha, a much better gloveman who is not in the XI for this Test, kept wicket as a substitute over the weekend as India fell behind by 406 runs.
However, Pant had been in fine form with the bat on Monday, quickly moving to 73 off 97 balls by lunch with the tourists making a fist of the run chase.
The situation has ignited Lalor.
“Everyone’s getting a bit anxious and I’m annoyed,” he said on SEN.
“This Rishabh Pant thing, this is just rubbish.
“You can sort of motor along with your eyes closed in cricket a little bit and be unaware of regulations and rules and things.
“How on earth can a bloke be not fit to wicket keep and you just happen to have an even better wicketkeeper waiting in the cupboard?
“So the better wicketkeeper goes out there, does the job, pulls off a catch that I reckon nine times out of 10 Rishabh Pant would have dropped, and then suddenly Rishabh Pant is fit enough to bat.
“They’re basically playing with 12 players. Rubbish.”
Indian commentator Bharat Sundaresan admitted that Pant was in pain when batting in the nets on Sunday evening, but Lalor wasn’t having any of it.
“If he’s in pain, boo bloody hoo,” he added.
”If he’s in pain he can wicket keep in pain. I’m sorry, it’s not good enough.
“If you can hold a bat, you can wear a pair of gloves and fumble a few balls like he does on occasion.
“That’s my point, I find this real ridiculous.”
Pant was finally out for 97 (118 balls) in the second session, caught at gully by Pat Cummins off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.
India eventually hung on for a draw by making 5/334 with Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin frustrating the Australian bowling attack in the final session.
The series, which currently sits at 1-1, now moves to Brisbane for the fourth and deciding Test which kicks off on Friday.