Cricket
India still undecided on WK for IND vs ENG Test as struggle continues to replace Rishabh Pant

India still undecided on WK for IND vs ENG Test as struggle continues to replace Rishabh Pant

Four wicketkeepers, 387 days, India Cricket Team have no answer for Rishabh Pant as WK remains undecided for IND vs ENG 1st Test.

It’s been over a year since Rishabh Pant was ruled out with a near-fatal car crash. But he remains irreplaceable. India Cricket Team have tried Ishan Kishan, KS Bharat and KL Rahul with Dhruv Jurel set to be the new face in the Test team for IND vs ENG Test series. But the position is not a sure shot anymore. Rohit Sharma & Rahul Dravid, the captain and coach pair have only picked the wicketkeeper on a case-to-case basis.

Now, they are back to square one in the IND vs ENG Test series that starts on Jan 25. India Cricket Team have opted for three keeper-batter for the India vs England Test series. While KS Bharat is the frontrunner because of his superior skills behind the stumps, KL Rahul and Dhruv Jurel are the other two.

What made Rishabh Pant irreplaceable?

Since MS Dhoni called it a time in his Test career, India have been searching for a keeper who can be the game-changer with the bat. In Wriddhiman Saha, India did find someone of a similar calibre. But Saha’s time in Team India was riddled with inconsistencies.

Then came Rishabh Pant. He was not just an impressive keeper but a far better batter. Not many can forget his heroics in Gabba, Brisbane Australia. And it was not a one-off. He could single-handedly change the game, taking the attack to the opponent. You never know what could happen next. That he hit a six off Nathan Lyon who was turning the ball every delivery will always be in Pant’s career highlight reel.

But India’s man-Friday Pant is out and there is no timeline on his return to the Test side. It could take six months, a year or more. And that’s where India are struggling. Since Pant, India have tried three wicketkeepers, treating the job as horses for courses.

On turning tracks, India have trusted KS Bharat, on seaming wickets, India Cricket Team have had Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul. Who would be this time in IND vs ENG 1st Test?

IND vs ENG Test: KS Bharat gets lifeline ahead of India vs England Test series, slams stunning century for India A against England Lions

IND vs ENG 1st Test: Who will keep wickets for India?

This will be the biggest selection headache for both Rohit Sharma & Rahul Dravid. KS Bharat has made a statement with a century for India A against England Lions. But his inclusion could lead to leaving out Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul.

KL Rahul has been in excellent form with a gritty century in Centurion on the South Africa tour. However, India need a middle-order enforcer and that’s where Shreyas Iyer could click. He is trying new things and taking an aggressive approach to counter the threat of English bowling attack. Then who plays in the IND vs ENG 1st Test?

Team India could gamble with KL Rahul, giving him the big gloves ahead of KS Bharat. But is he ready to keep wickets for 90 overs in Test against Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja — two great turners of the ball? On spin-friendly Indian pitches, it will be difficult for an injury-prone player.

While the selection of Dhruv Jurel is interesting as it shows the selectors’ lack of trust in KS Bharat. But for now, it will be between KS and KL and Jurel will have to wait.

The four-day practice camp in Hyderabad beginning today could decide the fate of the keeper-batter position.

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Stop hiding behind big names, selectors must take brave calls for T20 World Cup success
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