With rumours of Ishan Kishan making his bow for India against Australia in the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday, head coach defended KS Bharat’s performance so far in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
India had named Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat as wicketkeeping options for the 4-match Test series but later got the nod.
Bharat, who has been groomed as Rishabh Pant’s back-up for the past one year and is an India A regular, has had scores of 8, 6, 23 not out, 17 and 3 in the five innings that he played in the first three Tests.
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His keeping has been impressive on slow turners even though he did bungle a bit on a raging turner in Indore.
However, 57 runs from five innings has certainly not been beneficial to the Indian team’s cause with its batting unit already struggling on difficult tracks.
Ahead of the final Test, head coach Rahul Dravid came to Bharat’s defence when asked about the lack of runs from his bat.
“We we are not (concerned) and it again comes to a question of perspective and understanding of some of the challenges and conditions that he has kept in and even though it’s not a big contribution but he got 17 in the first innings," said Dravid.
“Got a nice contribution in Delhi where he played positively, and you need a little bit of luck in these conditions and he hasn’t probably had that, and he is shaping really well and keeping really nicely for us. So we need to put batting performance in perspective."
On Tuesday, Dravid did spend a lot of time with Kishan as he got two separate hits at the nets. Bharat was rested from the optional session but is likely to turn up for the training session on Wednesday.
The Motera track has a firm look to it and the even bounce means that Kishan’s attacking style of batting can be preferred by the team.
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The Indian team management also needs to keep in mind that if India play the WTC final against Australia at the Oval, chances of which are high, Bharat could well be a walking wicket against the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
With no chance of Pant’s recovery in the near future, Kishan is a way better option and Motera is perhaps the best place to check him out and see if he has the requisite temperament, if not the flawless technique, to play the traditional format.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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