'Expect management to...': Ex-IND selector's mic drop statement on KS Bharat vs KL Rahul debate for WTC final vs AUS
During a special interaction, the former Indian cricketer and ex-national selector weighed in on the selection debate involving wicketkeeper-batters KS Bharat and KL Rahul after India's series win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Despite missing the services of superstars Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant in the closing stages of their ICC World Test Championship campaign, Rohit Sharma's Team India made it to the summit clash of the showpiece for the second straight time. While Bumrah's unavailability paved the way for Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Uadav to complement veteran pacer Mohammed Shami, wicketkeeper KS Bharat replaced Pant and remained India's first choice behind the stumps throughout the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Andhra star Bharat made his Test debut in the series opener of the Border-Gavsakar Trophy against Australia. Interestingly, the 29-year-old wicketkeeper was called out by legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar and ex-India head coach Ravi Shastri on-air for dropping a sitter of a catch in the 4th Test between India and Australia. Bharat also struggled to cement his place as a batter in the recently concluded Test series. His mediocre batting performances might open the gates for an out-of-form KL Rahul in the Indian XI at the World Test Championship final.
Should Bharat be making way for Rahul, who is yet to prove his mettle as a wicketkeeper-batter in Test cricket? Former national selector Saba Karim feels the Indian think should provide the Andhra star with a longer rope. During a special interaction organised by JioCinema, former Indian cricketer Karim weighed in on the selection debate involving wicketkeeper-batters Bharat and Rahul.
“Eventually, that is up to the team management. But I feel the way the Indian team management in the recent past has dealt with youngsters, they have offered them a lot of security. They have created a conducive environment for them to grow. And they have not been very harsh in terms of performances, because they believe that they have invested heavily in a youngster, who has come to this stage and made a debut in a Test match,” Karim said.
With India set to meet Australia in the final of the ICC World Test Championship at The Oval, wicketkeeper-batter Rahul will have an outside chance of making it to the playing XI for the summit clash. In the absence of superstar Pant, India are also expected to name Ishan Kishan as the backup wicketkeeper for the World Test Championship final.
Indian opener Rahul was removed from the vice-captaincy post after the star batter extended his lean patch in the Australia Test series. Rahul only featured in the first two Test matches of the series. Averaging 20.20 in four matches, wicketkeeper Bharat only scored 101 runs against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“I do expect the Indian management to give more chances to KS Bharat. The conditions are extremely challenging, it is not easy for a young wicketkeeper to do well in these conditions. And in some of the Test matches he has been quite good behind the stumps. There are always areas of improvement for Bharat. But the way I look at it, if one has spent so much time in the growth of a young cricketer if you have prepared him through different kinds of challenges, whether it is from first-class cricket to India A, then I think it makes sense to give him some more opportunities, to kind of secure him into the side,” he added.