KL Rahul can do no wrong these days, it seems. The Karnataka opener has been in blistering form ever since his fruitful sting with his state side in the domestic 50-over and 20-over tournaments. Since that magnanimous domestic stint, Rahul hasn’t literally put a foot wrong and has relished in whatever role the team-management has asked of the opener.
And, it has been on full show in the ongoing three-match ODI series between India and Australia. Not only the charismatic Indian batsman has chipped in with crucial contributions with the bat but he also earned plaudits for his wicket-keeping skills in the absence of regular keeper Rishabh Pant.
Former cricketer-turned-commentator Akash Chopra has hailed Rahul’s wicket-keeping skills and even termed it better than that of Rahul Dravid. However, the former opener feels that India shouldn’t look to slot-in Rahul as a regular first-choice keeper, especially in 50-over cricket, for he is too precious a talent to burden with extra responsibility.
“He is a better keeper than what Dravid was but I would not want him to keep on a regular basis. Keeping takes a toll. He can’t be keeping for 50 overs and then batting higher up the order,” Chopra said as quoted by India Today ahead of the series decider on Sunday.
“If somebody who is that good (with the bat) and if he can do another job, it doesn’t mean that he should keep as well. Rahul is too precious a talent for me to slot in as a keeper-batsman. That way, instead of managing his workload, you are increasing his workload. Once in a while, if he has to keep for the team balance it is okay but in the longer run you have to allow him to score 10000 runs and that won’t happen if he is being asked to keep,” added Chopra.
Nayan Mongia feels India should not slot-in KL Rahul as specialist wicket-keeper
Former Indian wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia also echoed Akash Chopra’s views of not burdening Rahul with the extra responsibility of wicket-keeping, who feels that it is still fine to do in T20 cricket but not in the 50-over format.
“He can be a good second wicket-keeper. He cannot be a permanent wicket-keeper in ODIs. T20s it is still okay but not in ODIs. There should be a regular keeper but he can be a second option,” Mongia said.
“You need to have a specialist keeper anyway, Rishabh is there for that. Yesterday was just a chance to try Rahul out and he did reasonably well,” Mongia added.
If Rahul keeps regularly, it gives Kohli and the team-management the option of slotting in two specialist all-rounders in the form of Hardik Pandya, who is currently recovering from an injury, and Ravindra Jadeja “His (Rahul’s) batting will be affected if he is a regular keeper. He is more important to the team as a batsman than a wicket-keeper batsman,” said Mongia.
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