The Indian cricket team is gearing up for a highly anticipated series against Australia, which will consist of four Test matches starting on February 9 in Nagpur. The host nation, however, is faced with a major challenge as they will be without their star wicketkeeper-batter, Rishabh Pant, who was involved in a car accident last month. Despite facing difficulties in white-ball cricket, Pant was India’s top batter in Tests last year.
In light of Pant’s absence, the management has named KS Bharat, who has served as Pant’s deputy in recent series, and young left-handed batter Ishan Kishan as potential options for wicketkeeping against Australia. In a recent appearance on JioCinema’s sports show “Aakashvani,” former cricketer and commentator Aakash Chopra was asked about his preferred choice for Tests. Chopra ultimately chose KS Bharat, citing his superior wicketkeeping abilities. However, he added that the management might opt for Ishan if they want a left-handed batter in their top order.
“KS Bharat is the way to go if you’re looking for a better keeper. But if you need an explosive left-handed batter, as we currently don’t have one in the top order, then Ishan Kishan could be a good choice,” said Chopra. “Personally, I prefer KS Bharat because he can keep the scoreboard ticking in Tests and he has the ability to handle the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja’s bowling behind the wicket.”
Ishan made headlines in December after scoring the fastest double hundred in ODIs against Bangladesh but has struggled in both white-ball formats since then. With Pant out of the lineup, the Indian team is lacking a left-handed option in their top order, making Ishan a crucial player if he is selected over KS Bharat against Australia.
In addition to his preference for Tests, Aakash also revealed his thoughts on the wicketkeeper choice for ODIs and T20Is. He stated that Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson will be competing for the behind-stumps spot in the shortest format, while KL Rahul will serve as the wicketkeeper in ODIs.
“In T20s, it will be a close race between Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson. And for ODIs, KL Rahul will be the wicketkeeper, there’s no question about it,” Aakash concluded.