With the T20 World Cup looming on the horizon, the competition for the wicketkeeper’s position in the Indian cricket team has reached a fever pitch. Since the retirement of the legendary wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, several players, including Jitesh Sharma, Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan, have been tested for the role. However, as the tournament approaches, selectors are closely monitoring the performances of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant as well. The upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to play a pivotal role in determining the final choice for the T20 World Cup.
Musical Chairs: The Quest for Dhoni’s Successor
Since MS Dhoni’s retirement in 2019, the Indian wicketkeeper’s position has resembled a revolving door. Various players have been given opportunities to showcase their skills behind the stumps, including Jitesh Sharma, Sanju Samson, and Ishan Kishan. However, with the T20 World Cup fast approaching, the team management is in search of a stable and reliable choice.
The Contenders: Ishan, Jitesh, Sanju, Rahul, and Pant
In the past year, Ishan Kishan has featured in the most T20Is, playing 11 matches for India. Meanwhile, both Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma have been given opportunities, with nine matches each. Jitesh has emerged as the preferred choice recently, showcasing his batting skills as well. However, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant are also in contention for the wicketkeeper’s role, with Rahul’s versatility and Pant’s recovery from injury being closely monitored.
The Recent Performances: A Game of Numbers
Ishan Kishan has primarily been utilized as an opener, delivering impressive performances, including two half-centuries against Australia. However, with the return of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, fitting him into the top order becomes challenging. Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma have been utilized in the middle order, with Jitesh proving to be a capable finisher. The team management has shown faith in Jitesh, making him the first choice in recent series.
Rahul Dravid’s Call: Assessing the Options
India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, acknowledges the available options and considers all contenders for the wicketkeeper’s role. He emphasized that the upcoming months, including the IPL, will be crucial in making the final decision. Dravid highlighted the importance of the IPL in evaluating the players’ performances, including Rishabh Pant’s fitness, as he has been recovering from a previous injury.
IPL’s Significance: The Final Audition
With India not playing any T20Is before the T20 World Cup, the IPL will play a significant role in determining the team composition. The performances of the wicketkeeping contenders, as well as other promising players like Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Tilak Varma, will be closely observed. Dravid mentioned that the IPL will provide a platform for players to showcase their skills and fill any gaps in the team.
Who are the main contenders for the Indian wicketkeeper’s slot for the T20 World Cup?
- Ishan Kishan, Jitesh Sharma, Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, and Rishabh Pant.
Who has played the most T20Is as a wicketkeeper for India in the past year?
- Ishan Kishan, with 11 matches.
Who has emerged as the preferred choice recently?
- Jitesh Sharma, who has showcased his batting skills and has been the first choice in recent series.
How will the IPL impact the selection for the T20 World Cup?
- The IPL performances will be closely monitored by the team management to determine the final composition of the team.
What is the significance of Rishabh Pant’s recovery in the selection process?
- Rishabh Pant’s fitness and performance in the IPL will be crucial in assessing his suitability for the wicketkeeper’s role.