On Friday, Indian top-order batsman KL Rahul announced that he will miss the World Test Championship final against Australia next month due to a hamstring injury he sustained during the 2023 Indian Premier League. The injury occurred when he was diving to stop a boundary during the Lucknow Super Giants’ match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Although he did come out to bat after the ninth wicket of LSG’s innings, he was visibly in pain while running between the wickets.
Despite having KS Bharat in the team as the first-choice keeper, Rahul was considered India’s likely wicketkeeper-batsman for the championship match against Australia in June. However, according to former Indian batsman Amol Muzumdar, Rahul was never a viable option due to the challenging English conditions for a wicketkeeper. Interestingly, Muzumdar suggested that Ishan Kishan could be a player who might make the XI.
The Wicket Keeper Dilemma
Talking to ESPNCricinfo, Amol Muzumdar who is a domestic giant in India, said that KL Rahul was never an option for him. Ideally with Rishabh Pant being out of the contention due to his accident, India will need someone who is good at keeping and can chime in with a crucial knock under the pump. Hence, the ideal selection strategy for Team India should have been to go forth with a wicketkeeper who can bat. For KL Rahul, it is the exact opposite as he can bat significantly well but expecting him to keep for a hundred overs is naïve.
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Muzumdar suggested that Ishan Kishan be included in the team based on his current form. He also explained why KL Rahul and KS Bharat were previously discussed, citing the unfortunate injury to Rishabh Pant. According to Muzumdar, Ishan Kishan would be the closest replacement for Pant, making him an ideal addition to the team.
Here is what Muzumdar had to say about KL Rahul
“Looking at the situation, what has happened to Rahul is unfortunate. But I would be inclined to include Ishan Kishan in the team, looking at his form. Why we talked about KL Rahul and KS Bharat… is because of the unfortunate incident to Rishabh Pant. Now, if you want a man-to-man replacement, you can’t get any closer to Pant than Ishan Kishan. So, he comes into my team. He should be included,” Muzumdar added.
Before selecting the final XI for the World Test Championship Final at The Oval in London from June 7 to 11, Amol Muzumdar stated that he would assess all possible options during net practice in the days leading up to the match.