Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar believes the team should keep KL Rahul in mind when they pick their final XI for the World Test Championship final against Australia. Rahul could only return with scores of 20, 17, and 1 in the three innings against the Aussies in the Border-Gavaskar series and thus he was dropped from the playing XI as Shubman Gill got his chance.
Gill scored a brilliant knock of 128 runs in the fourth Test match at Ahmedabad and thus he was able to grab his opportunity at the top of the order.
Meanwhile, Rahul had done a fantastic job as an opener in the tough English conditions in 2021 as he scored 315 runs in four Test matches. With KS Bharat not grabbing his chances with the bat in the Border-Gavaskar series, the former Indian opener feels KL Rahul can play as a wicket-keeper in the WTC final.
In fact, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting recently batted for the inclusion of both Rahul and Gill in India’s final XI in the WTC final.
Sharing his views on the wicketkeeping conundrum, Gavaskar told Sports Tak: “You can see KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper. If he bats at No.5 or 6 in at the Oval (in the WTC final) then our batting will be stronger. Because he batted really well in England last year. He scored a century at the Lord’s. Keep KL Rahul in mind when you pick your XI for the WTC final.”
On the other hand, KS Bharat did a decent job behind the stumps in the first three Test matches but he struggled a bit at Ahmedabad. KS dropped a simple catch of Travis Head in the first innings and India’s veteran keeper Dinesh Karthik feels Bharat’s gloves were nowhere near the ball.
Concurring with DK’s claims, Gavaskar said: “Dinesh Karthik summed up the problems with his wicketkeeping quite beautifully. The real test of a wicketkeeper is on pitches like these where the ball is turning. If you look at Travis Head’s dismissal, when the ball turned and hit his stumps, KS Bharat’s gloves were nowhere near the ball. That means, if the ball hadn’t hit the stumps, it would have resulted in 4 byes. This is definitely a cause for concern.”
Gavaskar added KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan’s batting is better than KS Bharat and thus either one of them should be part of the playing XI in England.
“Whether they will select him in the XI or not is up to the selection committee but in England, you won’t get pitches where the keeper has to stand up to the stumps. In that case, you can pick KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper and even Ishan Kishan can be considered. Their batting is better than Bharat’s.”