The Indian team-management is faced with plenty of selection conundrums ahead of the all-important five-match T20I series against the powerful English side, starting March 12 in Ahmedabad.
Apart from picking Rohit Sharma’s opening partner between Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, the Kohli-Shastri-led think-tank will also have to decide who dons the wicketkeeping gloves- KL Rahul or Rishabh Pant?
Rishabh Pant was India’s first-choice wicketkeeper across all three formats after MS Dhoni went on a sabbatical post the 2019 World Cup.
However, due to lack of performances with the bat and shoddy keeping, Pant was eventually sidelined from the white-ball set-up last year and KL Rahul became the first-choice stumper in both ODIs and T20Is.
Rahul kept wickets during the T20I series in New Zealand and Australia last year while Rishabh Pant was dropped from the side after having warmed the bench throughout the entire course of the white-ball leg in New Zealand.
Rahul did his job with aplomb but with Pant forcing his way back in the white-ball set-up following brilliant performances with the bat during the Test series in Australia and at home against England where he also showed remarkable improvement in his wicketkeeping skills.
With Rishabh Pant back in the squad, he is a certainty in the playing 11 and so it will be interesting to see who dons the wicketkeeping gloves: him or KL Rahul?
Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour recently gave his views on the conundrum facing the think-tank.
“KL has done really well as a wicketkeeper-batsman. He has been a superb cricketer, he has batted really well, he has kept reasonably well. Now Rishabh [Pant] (is) back in form and doing well, let’s see how it goes. Once this situation comes, what the team management is looking to do, that’ll happen on the day of the game and how this series goes,” Vikram Rathour said in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.