Last Updated: May 26, 2023, 10:47 AM IST
Ishan Kishan (left) and KS Bharat. (AFP Photo)
India have two wicketkeeper-batters in their squad for the ICC World Test Championship Final during which they will face Australia
With IPL 2023 set to wind up this Sunday, the focus will quickly shift to the final of the ICC World Test Championship wherein India will take on Australia at The Oval from June 7. Few India stars have already landed in England and started preparing for the contest while others including captain Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Shami will link up later since they are currently playing for their respective franchises in IPL.
With KL Rahul being ruled out due to an injury, the BCCI named Ishan Kishan as his replacement in the squad which has also given India another wicketkeeping option in addition to KS Bharat who in all likeliness will get the nod ahead of the youngster.
Former India allrounder and head coach Ravi Shastri though thinks that the choice will depend on the conditions meaning he’s not ruling out the possibility of Ishan making his Test debut in the WTC final.
“See, that’s another tight one (decision),” Shastri told ICC. “Now, if two spinners are playing, then you would want Bharat to play. You have to see who’s a better keeper. Is it Bharat or Ishan Kishan? Now, the fact that Bharat was given a run against Australia, where he played all the Test matches, I think he would be the obvious choice to go with.”
Bharat played in all four Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at home and gave a good account of his wicketkeeping skills even though he didn’t impress with the bat in what were challenging conditions.
Ishan was also part of the BGT 2023 but he warmed the benches.
“There’s not much there. It’s not that one guy is far better than the other,” Shastri said.
“Batting will also come into play, whether you want Ishan Kishan’s batting to shore up the middle order. That’s another thing you’ll take into perspective. Are you going to go with four fast bowlers? Then there’s not much spin and you just need someone decent behind the stumps to do the job. So that you would leave to team management. Just before the game, they would weigh in just these little things that I’ve just said, and obviously look at current form,” he added.
On the other hand, Dinesh Karthik, himself a wicketkeeper-batter, feels playing Bharat is a straightforward choice.
“I think Bharat will be a pretty straightforward choice because playing Ishan Kishan in his debut and a Test match straight in the World Test Championship Final is asking a bit too much,” Karthik said.
“And the fact that KS Bharat probably tips the scale in favour of himself just a little bit with this keeping edge that he has got. So I do think they will go in with KS Bharat for the final,” he added.