"Rahul Is There, Samson Is There But Unfortunately..." Dravid On India's Wicket-Keeping Situation
The Indian cricket team has some amazing wicket-keeping options to choose from, in all formats of the game. Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan are some examples.
The Indian cricket team have had some phenomenal wicket-keepers over the years. But, since the arrival of MS Dhoni, the stocks of 'specialist wicket-keepers' have gone down, with teams preferring those who can do well with the bat too. During the press conference ahead of the third ODI between India and New Zealand, head coach Rahul Dravid also highlighted the same. Dravid cited the examples of Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant, and KS Bharat from the current crop of players who fall in the category of true 'wicket-keeper batters'.
"We always looking for a wicketkeeper-batsman, there is no question about it. I think since there has been MS Dhoni, in white-ball cricket, the days of specialist wicketkeepers are gone unfortunately. We are lucky and we are fortunate that all of the guys who are in contention, even in this team you know whether it's Ishan Kishan or KS Bharat are both good batsmen and have done well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Bharat hasn't played but Ishan has obviously done well as a batsman," Dravid said in response to a query from a reporter in the presser.
The India head coach firmly believes that being just a wicket-keeper isn't enough, as the demands of the game are such that one has to be a 'wicket-keeper batter' to make it in the current times.
"There is Rahul there, Samson is there, but unfortunately, Rishabh is injured. All of these guys are wicketkeeper-batsmen. I think today, you have to be a wicketkeeper-batsman. You should be able to bat and contribute significantly. We have also picked up Jitesh Sharma in the T20 mix because of his ability to bat and score runs at a very quick pace as he has shown in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy and in the IPL that he has played. So yeah it's given now that all teams need a wicketkeeper-batsman," Dravid explained.
With Pant likely to be out of action for most of this year, the likes of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are likely to get more opportunities in white-ball cricket. In the red-ball format, KS Bharat would hope to be rewarded for his performances in the domestic spectrum.