Rahul has been in red-hot form with the bat and it’s difficult to see him not boarding that flight to Australia for the T20 World Cup next year. Importantly, Rahul has been keeping wickets for Karnataka in T20s, as well as for his IPL team Kings XI Punjab.
Team India batting coach Vikram Rathour didn’t completely rule out the idea ahead of India’s first ODI against West Indies in Chepauk. “Of course, that is an option. It’s something the team management will have to see,” Rathour said on Saturday.
While Kohli & Co haven’t yet played that card, there are a few who feel it’s better to give Rahul a chance quickly behind the stumps and see how he does.
“I can understand if Rahul was an absolute makeshift ‘keeper. But that’s not the case as he keeps wickets for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL and for his state side (Karnataka) as well. In fact, he was actually a wicketkeeper during his under-19 days,” former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta told TOI.
Pant, for a while now, has been getting the chances to stop these discussions once and for all. But despite the faith Kohli has shown in him, the Delhi boy has struggled to come up with the goods with the bat when it matters the most.
From the point of view of team composition, if Rahul is asked to keep wickets, it will mean that a slot in the middle-order will also open up and the management will have the luxury of using a player in the middle as per the necessity.
However, MSK Prasad — the outgoing chairman of selectors and a former India wicketkeeper as well — felt the squad already has two designated ‘keepers and there is no reason to change that.
“We already have Pant as the No. 1 ‘keeper with Samson being the back-up (during the West Indies T20Is). So at this point of time, there shouldn’t be any change to that,” Prasad said.
Deep also doesn’t want doors to be shut on others like the experienced Dinesh Karthik.
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