‘He’s Done Well to Keep Selectors Interested’: Not Bharat but Shastri Picks Another Keeper for WTC Final

India may have defeated Australia 2-1 in the 4-match Test series and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but the real test is yet to be taken by Rohit Sharma & Co. The stage of the World Test Championship (WTC) final is set where they will square off against the Aussies once again and fight for the prestigious title at the London Oval in June 2023.

As India head into the World Test Championship (WTC) final for the second time in a row, team selection will be a crucial matter of discussion among the experts. Since Rishabh Pant will be a major missing in the Indian squad, the question will loom over the spot of a wicketkeeper-batter and former India head coach Ravi Shastri has opined that not KS Bharat but KL Rahul would be a great option to go with.

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Rahul has a great batting record in Test cricket on English soil. He has amassed 614 runs at 34.11 with two centuries – one at The Oval, and one fifty in nine Tests in English conditions.

However, the Karnataka cricketer was dropped from the playing XI after the first two Tests against Australia at home due to poor form. On Friday, he made an impressive return, slamming a match-winning 75 not out in the first ODI against Australia in Mumbai on Friday night.

Shastri feels Rahul can play as a wicket-keeper in the WTC final, especially after KS Bharat couldn’t produce the goods in the absence of an indisposed Rishabh Pant.

“He (KL) has really done well to keep the selectors interested ahead of the WTC final,” Shastri told Star Sports.

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“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 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 (KL) has two more ODIs to go before the IPL. He can cement his place in that Indian team.”

India qualified for the WTC final to be held in June at The Oval against Australia. It will be India’s second appearance in the final. They had lost to New Zealand in the 2021 final.

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