IND vs SA 1st Test Match: With the first Test match against South Africa underway, the question of who will wear the wicket-keeping gloves for India has been answered by coach Rahul Dravid. Due to the absence of Ishan Kishan, who opted for a break, the team has included KS Bharat as a replacement, leaving a choice between KL Rahul and Bharat for the wicketkeeper's role.
Speaking to the media, Dravid spoke on his decision and said, “It is an exciting challenge. This will be an opportunity for him (KL Rahul) to do something different. In Ishan's absence, we had few keepers to choose from. “Rahul now seems ready to take it further (play).” While Rahul has vast experience in limited overs cricket as a wicketkeeper, the longer format presents a new challenge.
Acknowledging Rahul's unfamiliarity with wicketkeeping in the red-ball format, Dravid expressed confidence in Rahul's ability to adapt. He said that Rahul has been actively involved in wicketkeeping for the last 5-6 months, mainly against fast bowling. Dravid stressed that Rahul's proficiency against pace will be beneficial in the Test format.
Dravid said, “He (KL Rahul) has done a lot of wicketkeeping in the last 5-6 months. During this period, he has done more keeping against fast bowling instead of spin. In such a situation, it will be easy for him to play this role. We will keep an eye on this also. It is good to have a player like him in the team, who apart from batting can also keep.
Coach Rahul Dravid's decision highlights the strategic thinking behind it, with Rahul's dual proficiency in batting and wicket-keeping making him a valuable asset for the team in the Test series against South Africa.