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Who Is KS Bharat - The Wicketkeeper-Batsman Roped In As Cover For Wriddhiman Saha?

Who Is KS Bharat - The Wicketkeeper-Batsman Roped In As Cover For Wriddhiman Saha?

KS Bharat has been added to the Indian contingent for England as cover for Wriddhiman Saha. Bharat has been on the fringes of the senior team for a while and his impressive and attacking batting as well as skills behind the stumps have given him a ticket for the four month long tour.

Kona Srikar Bharat will be on the flight to the United Kingdom as cover for Wriddhiman Saha making him part of the Indian contingent for the three and a half month tour which starts with the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand in Southampton on the 18th of June before the five-Test series against the hosts England. Saha has recently recovered from Covid-19 and the BCCI thought it was necessary to take an additional keeper as cover for the long tour.

So, who is KS Bharat?

Born in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, the 27-year old is almost a veteran in first-class cricket with 78 matches under his belt. The wicket-keeper batsman has an aggregate of 4283 runs in 123 innings at an average of 37.24 including 9 hundreds and 23 fifties.

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Making his first-class debut at the age of 19 against Kerala in 2012-13, Bharat came into the limelight a couple of years later in 2015 when he set a record in the Ranji Trophy becoming the first Indian wicket-keeper batsman to notch up a triple hundred in the country’s premier first-class tournament. Opening the innings, Bharat amassed a colossal 308 off just 311 deliveries for Andhra Pradesh against Goa in Ongole in February, 2015.

His ability to score quickly and get a large part of his runs in boundaries landed him a contract of INR 10 lakh with the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2015.

Bharat aggregated a whopping 758 runs in 9 matches in the 2014-15 Ranji Trophy. He registered one more hundred (apart from his record triple) and two fifties and has been a consistent scorer for Andhra in the prestigious tournament. His other standout hundred came against Vidarbha in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy in Vijayawada. Batting at number five, he scored an unbeaten 102 in the second innings to save the match for his team.

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Bharat has been on the fringes of the senior team for the last few years now. He was part of the India Blue squad for the 2018-19 Duleep Trophy and was added to India’s Test squad for the second Test against Bangladesh - again as a cover for Saha - in November 2019. He also found himself in the Indian ODI squad for the home series against Australia in January 2020 after Rishabh Pant had suffered a concussion.

Bharat has a decent record in List A cricket with 1351 runs in 51 matches at an average of 28.14 and strike rate of almost 70 with three hundreds but his best returns have been in the longer format. He produced a scintillating 142 off just 139 deliveries - with 11 fours and 8 sixes - against the England Lions in Wayanad in an unofficial Test in February 2019.

He was one of the five standby players in India’s Test squad for the home series against England in early 2021. Bharat was purchased by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 20 lacs in the auctions in February this year.

Bharat is widely considered as one of the best keepers in the domestic circuit for his agility and skills behind the stumps.

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first published:May 20, 2021, 15:00 IST