India’s regular wicketkeeper in Tests Rishabh Pant will be out of the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Test series against Australia starting from February 9. Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra, the former Indian batter has chosen his pick as Pant’s likely replacement.
The southpaw is out of Indian cricket ever since coping up with an unfortunate accident on December 30. He had a successful surgery and is undergoing rehabilitation to regain full fitness. He is likely to remain out of action for most of 2023 missing the upcoming Test series and the IPL in the process. Whether he will be fit in time for the ODI World Cup at home is something that only time can tell.
KS Bharat, Ishan Kishan Both In Contention: Aakash Chopra
Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra has chosen KS Bharat as his choice to replace the southpaw behind the stumps. Bharat was a part of the Indian ODI side in the New Zealand series. Jitesh Sharma and Ishan Kishan are the two wicketkeepers part of the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand. Chopra said that Bharat is better equipped to keep against the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“It is really unfortunate that Rishabh Pant isn’t available for us (India) at the moment. He is the kind of player who can play in all formats and is an excellent one too. What I feel is that we will see various players across the different formats. I would say KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan, both are in contention for Test cricket.”
KS Bharat first kept for India as a replacement for Wriddhiman Saha when he suffered from a stiff neck in the first Test against New Zealand in 2021. He also boasts of a first-class average of 47.95 for his domestic side Andhra.
Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan is seen as another potential option to replace Pant as India’s Test keeper for the Australia series. He recently notched up his maiden ODI ton against Bangladesh and is a part of the Indian squad regularly since then. He averages 38.76 in first-class cricket.
KS Bharat Can Handle Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin Better Behind The Stumps: Aakash Chopra
“If you need a better keeper then KS Bharat but if you need an explosive left-hand batter because we don’t have a lefty in the top order, then I would say we can say, Ishan Kishan. Personally, my preference will be KS Bharat because he can keep the scoreboard ticking in Tests and we need someone who is going to be able to handle Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja’s bowling behind the wicket,” Aakash Chopra said on JioCinema’s sports show ‘Aakashvani’.
India vs Australia series starts with the first Test in Nagpur from February 9-13. The second test will be played in Delhi (Feb 17-21), third in Dharamsala (March 1-5) and the fourth in Ahmedabad (Mar 9-13).