IND vs AUS, ODI: Gavaskar suggests Rohit to drop Bharat, pick discarded star as keeper in WTC final

Sunil Gavaskar accepts Rahul ought to be considered as the keeper-batter for the WTC final in IND vs AUS at The Oval simply in light of his batting skills.

IND vs AUS, ODI: Gavaskar suggests Rohit to drop Bharat, pick discarded star as keeper in WTC final
  • Sinchan Saha | March 14, 2023 | 11:15 am

Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar accepts KL Rahul ought to be considered as the keeper-batter for the WTC final among India and Australia at The Oval simply in light of his batting skills.

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New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in a last-ball thriller in Christchurch on Day 5 of the fourth Test between India and Australia in Ahmedabad. The outcome had far-reaching consequences. It eliminated Sri Lanka from contention and guaranteed India a spot in the World Test Championship final regardless of the outcome in Ahmedabad. After the final Test ended in a draw, India won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1. The WTC final, scheduled for June 7 at the Oval in England against Australia, quickly became the topic of discussion and focus. How will India prepare for the WTC final after two months of IPL? How will the team function?

The absence of India’s star players Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah will be a major concern for them. They have been out of the game for a long time due to injuries, and there is no indication that they will soon return to cricket. Although the spinners performed the majority of the bowling in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Bumrah’s absence was not particularly detrimental, it will be challenging to fill his void in English conditions.

Pant is no different. During the four Test matches against Australia, he was terribly missed as a batsman and a keeper. KS Bharat did not perform well with the bat, and neither did his keeping in front of the turning ball. The pitch in the WTC final is unlikely to favor spinners, but that will put Bharat’s batting back in the spotlight. Pant has been one of India’s most consistent batters in Test cricket played overseas, scoring his first hundred at the same location in 2018 while playing for England.

Sunil Gavaskar, a legendary Indian cricketer, thinks that KL Rahul should be considered a keeper-batsman for the WTC final because of his ability to bat

“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,”

Gavaskar told Sports Tak.

After the first two Tests of the Australia series, Rahul lost his vice captaincy and was dropped from the team. In his final ten innings of Test cricket, he failed to even score 30 runs. However, he is India’s first-choice keeper in one-day internationals and has a track record of success in English conditions. In point of fact, his performance on India’s most recent tour of England earned him a spot in the Test team.

Gavaskar stated that selecting Rahul for the one Test will give the Indian batting unit more depth, highlighting Dinesh Karthik’s comments regarding Bharat’s issues as a keeper. On pitches like these, where the ball is turning, the real test for a wicketkeeper is not to stand up to the stumps, but England’s pitches will. Given that their batting skills are superior to Bharat’s, Gavaskar is of the opinion that Rahul and even Ishan Kishan should be taken into consideration.

“Dinesh Karthik summed up the problems with his wicket keeping quite beautifully (during commentary). 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. 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,”

he added.

The absence of key players like Bumrah and Pant will be cause for concern as India prepares for the WTC final. India can still field a strong batting unit, however, with players like KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, and others in the mix. Sunil Gavaskar’s endorsement of KL Rahul’s batting abilities as a keeper-batsman will undoubtedly be taken into consideration when selecting the final XI for the WTC final, although the final decision will be made by the selection committee.