Team India will be in for a selection headache when they head to London coming June for the World Test Championship final against Australia. They had dropped KL Rahul in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Test series following his lean patch and his replacement Shubman Gill scored a century in the final match. The discussion has now been brewing over whether India should reconsider Rahul given his record in England and former India coach Ravi Shastri came up with an interesting suggestion for head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma.
Shastri was mighty impressed with Rahul’s wicketkeeping in the first ODI match against Australia at the Wankhede on Friday. He was India’s preferred wicketkeeper for the match despite the presence of Ishan Kishan, who replaced an absent Rohit Sharma. Rahul completed the dismissal of Steve Smith during the match with a stunning catch and also saved a couple of runs with his glovework.
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Speaking on Star Sports, Shastri opined that if Rahul can be played a wicketkeeper in the WTC final, it will bolster India’s batting line-up with the star batter taking up middle-order role.
“He has really done well to keep the selectors interested ahead of the WTC final,” Shastri said. “Two things, one for the ODI series when Rohit Sharma returns and the other for the WTC final. India can bolster their batting if Rahul can keep wickets. Rahul can bat in the middle-order No. 5 or No. 6. in England, you have to generally keep wickets from far behind. You don’t have to keep up to the spinners a lot. He has 3 more ODIs to go before the IPL. He can cement his place in that Indian team.”
In nine appearances in England, Rahul has scored 614 runs at 34.11 with two centuries, one at the Oval, and one fifty.
In the absence of Rishabh Pant, KS Bharat was added to the playing XI for the Border-Gavaskar series and while he impressed as a wicketkeeper, he failed to grab attention with his batting. He scored only 101 runs in four matches. Another option India have is Ishan, who was picked as a back-up option to Bharat, but he is yet to make his Test debut.
The WTC final will be played in June at the Oval against Australia. This will be India’s second appearance in the WTC final, having lost to New Zealand in the 2021 tie.