'Rishabh Pant isn't there. And the keeper that we have…': Ravi Shastri's mic-drop moment regarding KL Rahul
With KS Bharat facing flak for his keeping, Ravi Shastri knows just the candidate who should keep wicket for India at the WTC final against Australia in June.
India have a golden opportunity to end their wait for an ICC trophy when they will take on Australia in the final of the second edition of the World Test Championship. It has been 10 years since India got their hands on an ICC title, and despite coming close two years ago in the inaugural WTC final, they couldn't get the job done. Between now and then, there is plenty of time – there is the IPL – but rest assured, India would be aware that opportunities like these don't come knocking every day.
While most of India's Playing XI will pick itself, the one position which will be up for grabs is the wicketkeeper's slot. In the absence of Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat are the two specialist keepers who earned a place in India's Test squad during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, with the veteran Bharat scoring over his younger compatriot in all four matches. However, he came under scrutiny as he was unable to score runs and his wicketkeeping technique criticised.
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Bharat faced flak from former cricketers after missing a few stumping opportunities and dropping a couple of sitters during the series. Hence, with his place now under the scanner, former India coach Ravi Shastri has backed KL Rahul to keep wicket at the WTC final. Shastri feels that Rahul, who has been keeping in ODIs, will provide solidity with the bat and won't find keeping to pacers tough.
"KL Rahul should be keeping. Clear-cut. You don't have to keep much to the spinners. At No. 5 or 6, he can strengthen the batting and can keep wicket too. Of course, he can also keep in Tests because you have to see the all-round strength. It's not like the keeper that we have right now is so good that he can't be dropped. He is also a newcomer, KS Bharat and he will learn with exposure, but for this one-off big game, you have to weigh all the options," Shastri told a select group of reporters on the sidelines of Legends League Cricket in Doha.
Rahul was tried as India's wicketkeeper in the ODI series against Bangladesh where his performance was clean barring a tough catch in the 1st ODI while batting at No. 4 for India. Besides, Rahul has a decent Test record batting in England having scored two centuries – 160 at Oval in 2018 and a century at Lord's in 2021.