The relatively better batting track at the Narendra Modi Stadium could well bring dashing Jharkhand keeper-batter Ishan Kishan into the mix following KS Bharat’s poor show with the willow in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy. Bharat, who has been groomed as Rishabh Pant‘s back-up for the past one year and is an India A regular, has had scores of 8, 6, 23 not out, 17 and 3 in the five innings that he played in the first three Tests. His keeping has been impressive on slow turners even though he did bungle a bit on a raging turner in Indore.
However, 57 runs from five innings has certainly not been beneficial to Indian team’s cause with its batting unit already struggling on difficult tracks.
Ahead of the final Test, head coach Rahul Dravid came to Bharat’s defense when asked about the lack of runs from his bat.
“We we are not (concerned) and it again comes to a question of perspective and understanding of some of the challenges and conditions that he has kept in and even though it’s not a big contribution but he got 17 in the first innings,” said Dravid.
“Got a nice contribution in Delhi where he played positively, and you need a little bit of luck in these conditions and he hasn’t probably had that, and he is shaping really well and keeping really nicely for us. So we need to put batting performance in perspective.” On Tuesday, Dravid did spend a lot of time with Kishan as he got two separate hits at the nets. Bharat was rested from the optional session but is likely to turn up for the training session on Wednesday.
The Motera track has a firm look to it and the even bounce means that Kishan’s attacking style of batting can be preferred by the team. The effect of Rishabh Pant’s horrific accident has never been felt as much as it has been during the series where India has missed a counter-attacking batter in the middle-order who could take the game away in one session.
Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are all-rounders and more than capable of playing match-winning knocks but certainly aren’t players with x-factor who can change the game in a single session.
Suryakumar Yadav was tried in Nagpur but that was due to the absence of Shreyas Iyer.
The only factor that can go against Kishan is the presence of two off-spinners in the Australian ranks. Kishan has had problems against deliveries that turn away but that has happened in white ball cricket where he has to attack straightaway.
The Indian team management also needs to keep in mind that if India play the WTC final against Australia at the Oval, chances of which are high, Bharat could well be a walking wicket against the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
With no chance of Pant’s recovery in the near future, Kishan is a way better option and Motera is perhaps the best place to check him out and see if he has the requisite temperament, if not the flawless technique, to play the traditional format.
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