The Test Championship final will be held at The Oval in June. Gautam Gambhir suggested the squad must play “expert wicketkeeper” KS Bharat instead of a “part-time keeper” in a subtle jab at past players who wanted KL Rahul to be the wicketkeeper-batter. “You should always go with a special wicketkeeper. England is a tough place to keep, where you can’t go with a part-time wicketkeeper,” Gambhir said.
KL Rahul, who had a respectable record in England, should only play as a batsman, not as a “wicketkeeper-batsman,” according to Gambhir. “If you want to pick KL Rahul for the Test Championship final, then play him purely as a batsman,” he said.
Gambhir also backed KS Bharat, who had received harsh criticism for his keeping and batting in the just-finished Border-Gavaskar Test series from the previous players.
“In four matches, we came to the conclusion that KS Bharat’s batting and keeping is not up to the mark. In those four matches, our top-order batsmen also failed to score; we must keep that in mind,” said Gambhir.
‘Former players questioning Bharat must check their own records’ – Gautam Gambhir
“Those former players who are questioning Bharat must check their own records. The longer runs they have got despite not being able to perform. In Test cricket, you should always play a proper keeper. A wicketkeeper can drop catches, but he can also take some stunning catches as well.
“Ex-cricketers should know the importance of keeping in Test cricket. One drop catch can change the Test match. If a keeper drops a catch, you know that he is a regular keeper, but if a part-time keeper drops a catch, you will keep scratching your head the entire five days that, oh, we should have played a proper wicketkeeper,” he added.
Asserting that the Indian T20 League is entirely different from international cricket, Gambhir also slammed detractors for questioning KL Rahul’s form.
“I don’t think there will be any pressure on KL Rahul because ITL cricket is different than IPL cricket. If you score 1000 runs in the ITL, but if you fail to score in international cricket, you will face criticism. Only 15 players get to represent the country. In ITL, more than 150 players get selected,” he said.
“KL Rahul has four centuries in the ITL. We are talking about a player who has proven himself in the IPL. He scored two centuries last year as well. Former cricketers criticise because they want to stay relevant. I don’t think KL Rahul will be under any pressure. One player doesn’t win you the tournament; there are 25 players in that dressing room, and they are equally responsible for the success of the team,” he added.
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