ICC T20 World Cup 2024: KL Rahul vs Rishabh Pant, Who’ll Be First-Choice Wicketkeeper? Sunil Gavaskar Reacts


KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant

Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels that Rishabh Pant should be included in the Indian team even if he is fit on one leg. However, KL Rahul could be a good wicketkeeper-batter option for India in the upcoming T20 World Cup. Rishabh Pant is a game-changer in every format according to Sunil Gavaskar and he should be the first pick for India in the T20 World Cup.

India will be facing Afghanistan in a three-match T20I series commencing on January 11 at Mohali. The selectors picked Jitesh Sharma and Sanju Samson as the two wicketkeeper-batters in India’s 16-member squad. While Rishabh Pant wasn’t available for selection as he has not recovered fully from his injuries, KL Rahul was ignored after having a busy schedule with the Indian team in the last five months.

Sunil Gavaskar was asked about KL Rahul playing in the middle-order as a wicketkeeper-batter in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 during an interaction on the Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’. “I see him (Rahul) as a wicketkeeper as well but I will say one thing before that – if Rishabh Pant is fit on even one leg, he should come in the team because he is a game-changer in every format. If I am the selector, I will put his name first,” he responded.

The legendary batter feels KL Rahul will be the best option if Rishabh Pant is not available for selection, explaining, “However, if Rishabh Pant is unavailable and KL Rahul keeps wickets, it will be good because the balance will also get created. Then you have the option to play him as an opener or use him in the middle order as a finisher at No. 5 or No. 6.”

KL Rahul And Rishabh Pant Have Contrasting Records In T20Is

Sunil Gavaskar added that the Karnataka player has shown a lot of improvement in his keeping. “He is an all-rounder and he has improved his wicketkeeping so much. When he used to keep earlier, he was probably a slightly reluctant wicketkeeper, a keeper you could just manage with, but now he is a proper wicketkeeper,” he elaborated.

However, Rishabh Pant doesn’t have a lot of stats to boast in the T20I format. He has scored 987 runs in 56 innings at an average of 22.43. Pant has smashed only three half-centuries in the shortest format and also has a strike rate of 126.38. On the other hand, KL Rahul has amassed 2265 runs in 68 innings at an excellent average of 37.75 with an impressive strike rate of 139.12.

KL Rahul has never batted in T20Is at a position below No.4 and he needs to showcase his batting prowess in the middle order during IPL 2024 to be in contention for the T20 World Cup. Rishabh Pant has a lot of experience playing as a middle-order batter and no matter if his stats are not good, he can be a game-changer in any format and is also a reliable wicketkeeper. Rishabh Pant will be back in cricketing action during the IPL 2024. However, he will reportedly be playing as a specialist batter.


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