Ishan Kishan or KS Bharat? | The Wicket-Keeping Dilemma India Face Ahead of WTC Final
KS Bharat in action for India [AP Photos]
The World Test Championship (WTC) final is just around the corner, with both India and Australia sweating it out in the nets for the crucial game that awaits them in a week's time.
Both the teams have done exceedingly well to reach the finale, and the winner of the WTC Final will become the first nation to have bagged all the ICC trophies (T20 World Cup, 50 Over World Cup, Champions Trophy, WTC Trophy).
However, both the sides have plenty to ponder upon, with injuries striking both the camps. Australia have kept their fingers crossed regarding the injury situation of Josh Hazlewood. Meanwhile, India will miss their key players, including Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul in the finals due to injuries.
However, the biggest dilemma India face is regarding the wicket-keeping situation. India's best keeper-batter, Rishabh Pant is sidelined due to an unfortunate road accident which took place last year in December. There is no timeline for Pant's comeback, and it was expected that KL Rahul will don the wicket-keeping gloves for the final. However, he too, got injured in the recently concluded IPL and has been ruled out for a considerable amount of time.
For this monumental finale, the selectors have gone with Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat, as the two wicket-keeper batters. However, only one can get into the playing XI.
Ishan Kishan's selection in the India Test squad surprised a lot of people. Experts have questioned his technique time after time and even his glove-work has come under scrutiny. But perhaps he is seen as an X-Factor in the absence of Pant in the middle-order of the Indian side.
He may not have the best technique to counter swing, but he does have the calibre to go after the Aussie attack, just to rattle their rhythm, something which Pant did to perfection.
Moreover, his first-class numbers aren't too bad either. In 48 first-class matches, the southpaw has amassed 2985 runs, at an average of 38.76.
Even the former Aussie skipper, Ricky Ponting has urged the Indian team to include Kishan in the playing XI, as he brings something different to the table.
The curious case of KS Bharat. For the last 1.5 years, he has travelled with the Indian Test team, and finally got his Test debut in the Border-Gavaskar series against Australia in February. His numbers - 4 matches, 101 runs, and average of 20.20.
These are not pleasing numbers, but one should consider the challenging conditions which were on offer in that series. The ball was turning left, right and centre, and batters from both the sides had issues countering the spin.
He did play a cameo in the Delhi Test to seal the win, but majorly struggled in other matches. In the first two matches of the series in Nagpur and Delhi, Bharat had an exceptional game behind the stumps, but he did drop a couple of good chances in the fourth Test in Ahmedabad.
If India need someone, who is reliable behind the stumps, then KS Bharat should be the front-runner.
The World Test Championship final commences from June 7 at the Iconic Oval, London.