India head coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that he would not shy away from using KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper-batsman in next year’s T20 World Cup. Shastri’s statement comes in the wake of Rishabh Pant’s constant struggles with bat and wicket-keeping gloves. The youngster has been India’s preferred choice to replace MS Dhoni in the limited-overs team but has struggled to deliver as per expectation.
Pant has failed to make an impression as both – batsman as well as wicketkeeper. He has been the wicketkeeper-batsman in the ODI and T20I teams since Dhoni took a sabbatical but has done little to show that he can fill the large shoes of former India skipper. He struggled in the recently-concluded T20I series against West Indies too.
After showing promise in the first two games, he was promoted to number three in the third game. With the scoreboard reading 135 for 1 in less than 12 overs, Pant got the ideal situation to show his class. However, he threw away the chance as he registered a two-ball duck. And it looks like the team-management is finally running out of patience with him.
Rishabh Pant’s place not secured
With Pant struggling, Shastri has fired a clear warning at him by making it clear that he is not guaranteed of a place in the team. Shastri said that using KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper is an ‘absolute option’. While Rahul does not keep the wickets for India, he does that for Karnataka and his IPL team.
“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.
Rahul has been in superb form of late. After impressing in the World Cup as an opener, he has continued his form in the ongoing home season too. The right-handed batsman recently played knocks of 62 and 91 against West Indies. Prior to that, he helped Karnataka win the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
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