‘That’s Virat Kohli’s decision,’: Sourav Ganguly reacts on KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant wicket-keeping debate
KL Rahul as the preferred wicket-keeper over Rishabh Pant has taken fans back to the time when Rahul Dravid was asked to don the gloves ahead of the 2003 ODI World Cup. After India decided to give Lokesh Rahul the dual role of a ‘keeper-batsman’ in limited overs by dropping Pant from the playing XI, the architect of that theory in Indian cricket, former captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly weighed in on the Indian cricket team’s wicket-keeper debate.
Ganguly was the one who took the call of asking Dravid to keep wickets in order play an extra batsman in the middle order back in 2002-03 and current India captain Virat Kohli too has gone the same way for the balance of the side. Rahul was forced to take the gloves after Rishabh Pant was hit on the helmet by a Pat Cummins bouncer in the 1st ODI against Australia. The Karnataka batsman’s satisfactory factory glovework coupled with his outstanding form with the bat in that series, prompted the Indian team management to carry on with him as the ‘keeper even in the New Zealand tour.
“Virat Kohli takes that decision. The team management and captain decide the role of KL Rahul,” Ganguly told ABP News when asked whether the decision had resemblance with his tactic of keeping with Dravid.
The BCCI president lauded Rahul for his batting performances in the white-ball cricket and also wished him to continue the same even in red-ball cricket and get his spot back in the Indian side.
“He has played well in ODIs and T20Is. He started well in Test cricket but has gone down slightly. But in limited overs cricket he has played really well and hope he continues all the good work but like I said, all these decisions are of the team management’s,” Ganguly added.
Asked about the race for the wicket-keeper’s spot for the T20 World Cup, Ganguly said, “The selectors, Virat and Ravi will decide that. Whatever they think, it’ll happen that way.”
From opener to No.5 – Rahul has batted in every possible position in India’s top five in the last month. The 27-year-old also had a fair degree of success in every position. Even in the first T20I against New Zealand, KL Rahul scored 56 off 27 balls while the opening the batting. His innings and the 99-run partnership that he put on with captain Virat Kohli (55), created the base for India’s 204-run chase against New Zealand on Friday.
Shreyas Iyer later on carried on and scored an unbeaten 58 off 29 balls to take India over the line in 19 overs.
“I’m quite honestly loving it. At the international stage, it might seem very new and it might seem like I’ve never kept. (But) I’ve kept for my IPL franchise for the last 3-4 years, and I’ve kept for my first-class team as and when there is an opening. I’ve still stayed in touch with wicket keeping,” Rahul said after the match.