KL Rahul As Wicketkeeper In T20Is? Ravi Shastri Leaves The Door Ajar For Experiment

Last Update on: December 14th, 2019 at 11:07 pm

Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has left the door ajar for KL Rahul to play as a wicketkeeper-batsman in T20Is, stating that a team needs a player who can do two things at a time. In a recent conversation with India Today, Shastri said that playing Rahul as a batsman and wicketkeeper is an option.

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The 27-year-old hasn’t kept wickets in an international match officially but he did don the gloves in a part of the second Test match against Sri Lanka back in 2015. Rahul has kept wickets on a regular basis in IPL and for Karnataka in domestic cricket.

“It is an absolute option. You got to see where your strength is. If tomorrow there are a couple of guys in the middle order who are firing with unbelievable innings in the IPL. IPL will be a good judging ground. If you feel a guy who can multitask can be used at the top because there’s some firepower at the back who are doing extremely well, then why not?” Shastri told India Today.

“That’s what you need. You need people who are doing 2 things at a time. Gone are the days when you only played as a batsman then you gotta be a Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma. Even they are excellent in the field. You got to have 2 departments if not more to be able to play white-ball cricket,” he added.

KL Rahul
KL Rahul. Credit: BCCI

Given Rahul’s current form, it will be unfair for the team management to drop him for the Sri Lanka T20Is. In Shikhar Dhawan’s absence, Rahul scored 164 runs against West Indies at a strike-rate of 153.27. He would have sat out of the playing XI if Dhawan was a part of the series. The left-handed batsman suffered a thigh injury during Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and is missing the ongoing limited-overs series against West Indies.

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He might have to now sit out due to Rahul’s form but if the team management wants him to be in the playing XI, then Rahul might keep wickets to retain his place.

Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant, Indian National Cricket Team, Three Reasons why Sanju Samson is not getting chances
Rishabh Pant (Credits – Twitter)

This will mean that Rishabh Pant might be dropped from the playing XI. He has been under pressure to keep his spot and hasn’t delivered on the early promise. The nex three ODIs might decide whether Rishabh will continue to be part of the team for the next series or not and Shastri’s statement suggests that the coaches have started to look beyond the youngster.

They dropped him from the playing XI in Tests and there’s a Sanju Samson who can keep wickets in T20Is. But since he isn’t a regular member of the team, Rahul now comes before Samson for the wicketkeeping duties.

Rishabh’s place in the squad for Sri Lanka T20Is now solely depends on his form in the upcoming three ODIs, starting Sunday. The 2020 T20 World Cup takes place in October-November in Australia.