Sunil Gavaskar believes Rishabh Pant should keep wickets for India in limited-overs cricket

Written by Vishwas Gupta

KL Rahul performed multiple roles in India’s 2-1 series win against Australia as the Karnataka batsman doubled up as wicketkeeper in the decider match in Bengaluru and also switched between lower order to opening the batting in the 3-match ODI series.

KL Rahul scored 47 runs in the series opener while batting at No. 3 and slammed 80 runs in the Rajkot ODI after coming in to bat at No. 5. After Rishabh Pant got ruled out of the 3rd ODI due to concussion, KL also kept wickets for India in Bengaluru and also in the Rajkot (after Pant did not take the field). Seeing KL Rahul’s adapting well in every role, Virat Kohli admitted that the team would persist with KL Rahul as wicketkeeper in the upcoming New Zealand series, too.

However, former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar believed that the team management should continue with Rishabh Pant for keeping the wickets as the young wicketkeeper could also play the role of a finisher at No.6 batting position.

“I will go with Rishabh Pant in the limited-overs cricket. If you need a finisher at No. 6 then Rishabh Pant can do that for the team,” Gavaskar told Aaj Tak.

“Also he is a left-handed batsman, so considering the Indian batting line-up where we have only one left-handed batsman in form of Shikhar Dhawan, so if we have another southpaw in top-order then it will be beneficial for the team. So I will go with Rishabh Pant,” he added.

Addressing a press conference after India’s series win, Virat Kohli had said KL Rahul provides the team much-required balance that they were in need of and thus the team management would continue with him rather than experimenting further.

“Rahul really brings in a good balance if he can keep and bat that well in that position (No. 5). He has come into the slot and he has done well so we will have to persist with that a little bit and see where that takes us and not necessarily be confused about the other options we have.”

“So I think lack of clarity in terms of positions has really hurt us in the past. Now that we understand that this feels right, we will go ahead with that for a while and figure out if this is the right thing to do or not. You can chop and change immediately and create confusion among the group. I don’t see any reason why we should change this balance. It has done well for the team and we will continue with the same for a while.”

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Vishwas Gupta