Aakash Chopra feels KS Bharat is better equipped to be India’s wicket-keeper as opposed to Ishan Kishan for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.
With the horrific accident of Rishabh Pant on December 30, the question about India’s wicket-keeper for the Border-Gavaskar series against Australia has irked many fans and experts. Former India opener Aakash Chopra weighed in on the debate, saying that he would prefer KS Bharat over Ishan Kishan as the wicketkeeper-batter for the upcoming four-match Test series.
Aakash Chopra Prefers KS Bharat In Absence Of Rishabh Pant As He Can Keep Scoreboard Ticking And Handle Ravichandran Ashwin And Ravindra Jadeja Better
Aakash Chopra reasoned that KS Bharat, as a wicketkeeper on Indian pitches, is better equipped to handle the bowling of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as well as left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
“It is really unfortunate that Rishabh Pant isn’t available for us (India) at the moment. He is the kind of player who can play in all formats and is an excellent one too. What I feel is that we will see various players across the different formats. I would say KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan, both are in contention for Test cricket.”
KS Bharat has been for long served as Rishabh Pant’s backup in the Test squad and has a first-class average of 47.95. He had taken over the reins during India’s first Test match against New Zealand in Kanpur in November 2021 when then-keeper Wriddhiman Saha was unable to take the gloves due to a stiff neck.
Ishan Kishan, on the other hand, received his first call-up to the Test squad and has been India’s man behind the stumps in one-day cricket. He averages 38.76 in first-class cricket.
“If you need a better keeper then KS Bharat but if you need an explosive left-hand batter because we don’t have a lefty in the top order, then I would say we can say, Ishan Kishan.
“Personally, my preference will be KS Bharat because he can keep the scoreboard ticking in Tests and we need someone who is going to be able to handle Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja’s bowling behind the wicket,” Aakash Chopra said on JioCinema’s sports show ‘Aakashvani’.
For India’s Tests against Australia, starting from February 9 in Nagpur, KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan are the wicketkeeping options as first-choice wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is on the road to recovery.
KS Bharat, who has made regular appearances for India A and averages 47.95 in first-class matches, had been the backup to Rishabh Pant for a long time in the Test team. He was also impressed with his keeping skills when Wriddhiman Saha didn’t take the gloves due to a stiff neck during India’s first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur in November 2021.
Aakash Chopra: Ishan Kishan And Sanju Samson In T20Is And KL Rahul In ODIs Will Be Keepers In Rishabh Pant’s Absence
Sanju Samson played his last T20I against Sri Lanka in January 2023 while Ishan Kishan played the ODI series and is currently playing the T20I series against Kiwis. KL Rahul was rested for the ODIs and T20Is against the Kiwis for marriage purposes. The trio can keep wickets regularly in the shorter ODI and T20I formats.
When talking about his choice of keepers for India in white-ball cricket, Aakash Chopra said: “In T20s, It’s going to be a toss-up between Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson and ODIs will obviously feature KL Rahul behind the wicket, there is no question about it.”
As of now, there is no clarity on when Rishabh Pant will achieve full fitness and make a gradual return to the game. But Aakash Chopra thinks that the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter could be a potential captaincy candidate for India alongside young right-handed-opener Shubman Gill.