KS Bharat would be the obvious choice for the WTC finals: Ravi Shastri

As Indian main wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has recovered from a horrific car accident and his backup K.L. Rahul is recovering from right hip surgery, Indian team management is faced with the dilemma of who to choose between Bharat and Ishan Kishan as the first choice gloveman for the final WTC match at the Oval, which begins June 7.

Shastri said that since Bharat saved wickets during the Border-Gavaskar series earlier this year, he expects the 29-year-old to get management approval before Kishan.

We need to see who is the better keeper. Bharat or Ishaan Kishan? Given the fact that Bharat was given the opportunity to play against Australia, where he played all the Test matches, I think he would be the obvious choice, Shastri said on ICC Review.

While Bharat performed well behind the stumps, he was not very good with the bat, scoring just 101 runs in six innings on rotating pitches.

Kishan, on the other hand, did not get that opportunity against Australia and was included in the final WTC lineup after Rahul’s injury during the IPL.

Shastri noted that the playing conditions at the venue of the WTC finals would ultimately decide which wicketkeeper would end up playing.

See, that’s another tough (decision). If two spinners are playing, you would want Bharat to play, Shastri said.

Though Bharat has only played four tests, his experience of 90 first-class games in the longer format may tip the scales in his favor. Kishan, on the other hand, has yet to make his Test debut and has 48 first-class appearances.

Nevertheless, the young wicketkeeper has achieved more with the bat than Bharat: He made a double-century in an ODI match against Bangladesh late last year in Chattogram.

A left-handed batter also brings diversity to a batting lineup dominated by right-handers, and the former India coach said there is not much difference between the two cricketers.

There’s not much there. It’s not that one guy is much better than the other. Batting will also play a part: whether you need Ishaan Kishan to strengthen the middle order. That’s another thing you’ll take into consideration, Shastri said.

Are you going to use four fast bowlers? Then there aren’t a lot of backs, and you just need somebody decent behind the stumps to do the job. That can be left up to management.the team. Shortly before the game, they’ll weigh all those little things I just said, and obviously look at the current form, he added.

India veteran and Royal Challengers Bangalore wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik believes Bharat’s experience should make him an automatic choice for the WTC finals.

I think Bharat would be a pretty easy choice because playing with Ishan Kishan in his debut match and going straight into a Test match in the World Test Finals is too much, Karthik said.

And the fact that K.S. Bharat might be tipping the scales a little in his favor because of his ball-handling skills. So I think they’ll go with K.S. Bharat in the finals.

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