Gautam Gambhir and Aakash Chopra want KL Rahul to only open and not keep wickets for India
Captain Kohli has indicated that the management will continue to back Rahul at the No.5 spot in order to allow him to get used to his role.
Updated - Feb 6, 2020 1:35 pm
KL Rahul is the talk of the town. The Karnataka batsman has proceeded to mould himself in every form and situation that the team-management has asked him to. Not long ago, Team India was struggling to find an ideal No.4 batsman. From KL Rahul to Ambati Rayudu to Yuvraj Singh to Dinesh Karthik to KL Rahul again, followed by Vijay Shankar and Rishabh Pant in the World Cup — India tried everyone to solve the jigsaw that was the No.4 spot.
Post the World Cup, Shreyas Iyer, thanks to his consistent performances in the past six months but things are far from hunky-dory as far as the team combination. Post the failure of Rishabh Pant (400 runs in 22 ODIs at an average of 23.52) — both as a batsman and as a wicketkeeper– India decided to try out KL Rahul with the gloves.
Rahul, who has scored 411 runs at a staggering average of 68.50 in the eight matches he has played as wicket-keeper, has taken to keeping as well as batting at the No.5 spot in One-day cricket as fish takes to water. At the No.5 spot, KL has batted thrice and has registered 175 runs which include a swashbuckling 88 off 64 balls in Hamilton in the first ODI.
KL Rahul has been backed for the No.5 spot
Captain Kohli has indicated that the management will continue to back Rahul at the No.5 spot in order to allow him to get used to his role. However, two former Indian openers- Akash Chopra and Gautam Gambhir- aren’t happy with KL keeping the wickets and batting in the middle-order in 50-over cricket.
Both agreed that Rahul is an opener who should not keep wickets in ODIs. I am not sure if it is a great idea to remove KL Rahul (from the opening position),” Gautam Gambhir told Times of India.
“I’m not suggesting that making Rahul keep will injure him, but it would increase the chances of that happening. His body might not be used to keeping wicket for three and a half hours and then opening the half of the inning an hour later,” Aakash Chopra wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.
“Yes, I hear you, Adam Gilchrist could do it, but then, he also trained his wicket-keeping muscles all his cricket-playing life. Thousands of hours of keeping develop and strengthen the muscles required to perform that role. And keeping in a 50-over game is very different from keeping in a T20I,” Chopra added.
Chopra also wrote that when will know that the likes of Pant or Sanju Samson or Ishan Kishan, who have kept all their lives, are the second wicketkeeper in the side. When and how are we going to know whether Pant or Sanju Samson or Ishan Kishan or someone else is to be the second wicketkeeper in the side,” he added.