Dravid’s ‘KL Rahul’ decision for SA Tests lambasted by ex-India wicketkeeper | Cricket

Team India will return to action on December 26 when the side takes on South Africa in the first Test in Centurion. The series will see the return of India’s two batting stalwarts, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, as the duo returns to action for the first time since the forgettable World Cup final last month. India are also set to welcome back KL Rahul to the Test team after an injury-enforced absence, marking his return to red-ball cricket following a shoulder injury during the IPL earlier in the year. This comeback comes after he missed crucial events like the World Test Championship final and the series against West Indies. Although Rahul returned to white-ball cricket with appearances in the Asia Cup and the World Cup, the South Africa series will mark his first Test since the Australia Tests in February-March 2023.

Gauteng: Indian players Shubman Gill, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Yashasvi Jaiswal during a practice session ahead of the first Test cricket match between India and South Africa(PTI)

In a significant development on Sunday, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid confirmed during the pre-match conference for the first Test in Centurion that KL Rahul would take on the wicketkeeping duties. With Ishan Kishan’s withdrawal and KS Bharat as the second keeper option, Rahul has been entrusted with the responsibility behind the wickets. Being a seasoned batter, Rahul hasn’t been a regular wicketkeeper in the longest format, raising concerns among some cricket experts.

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Former keeper Parthiv Patel, who last played for India during a Test series in South Africa in 2017-18, expressed reservations about Rahul’s role as the wicketkeeper in overseas Test series, emphasizing the importance of a player who has been regularly keeping wickets in India’s premier domestic long-format competition, the Ranji Trophy, to take on the wicketkeeping duties in such challenging conditions.

“India’s test match wicketkeeper should be someone who is keeping regularly in ranji trophy or first class cricket….#imho #INDvSA #IndianCricket,” Patel wrote on his official X account.

Rahul was India’s wicketkeeper in the Asia Cup as well as the ODI World Cup, and was lauded by fans and experts alike for his astute decision-making behind the stumps, particularly during the LBW reviews. However, he is yet to make an appearance as a wicketkeeper in the longest format; additionally, Rahul has only started one first-class match as a designated keeper-batter.

The opportunity for Rahul to keep wickets for India across all formats opened after Rishabh Pant’s absence due to a severe car accident last year. Over the past few years, India have inclined towards opting for a keeper-batter who can contribute efficiently with the bat.

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