Former India players Gautam Gambhir and Mohammad Kaif were engaged in a healthy debate over Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul during the India-Pakistan Asia Cup 2023 match in Pallekele on Saturday, September 2. While Kaif said that Kishan would have to sit out for Rahul despite his fifty against Pakistan, Gambhir asked him if form is more important than name. However, Kishan was picked as the wicketkeeper-batter in the Indian playing XI for the clash and he did exceptionally well.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Kaif said, “Kl Rahul is a proven match-winner. At No. 5, his numbers are fabulous. So, when KL Rahul is fit again, he will be playing in the XI and Ishan Kishan will have to wait for his next opportunity. Ishan is doing all that he needs. His graph is only going up and is getting better by the day. He has a double century to his name as well. He has class and talent but he cannot replace Rahul yet because the latter is not playing because of bad form, but due to an injury.”
Gautam Gambhir, however, expressed his disapproval of Kaif’s thoughts. He also asked the former India batter whether name is more important than form heading into a World Cup as well.
“To win the World Cup, name is more important or form? Had Kohli or Rohit made those four consecutive fifties, would you have said the same thing about KL Rahul? When you are preparing to win a World Cup, you don’t look at a name, you look at the form of a player that could win you the trophy,” Gambhir said while responding to Kaif.
Ishan Kishan scored a brilliant 82 off 81 balls and added a fifth-wicket stand of 138 with Hardik Pandya (87 off 90) as India recovered from 66/4 to post a competitive 266 runs as well The match, however, produced no result as Pakistan did not get a chance to bat due to persistent rain.
“Ishan has done everything possible to become the frontrunner. We are only making this argument because he hasn’t played as many international matches as Rahul. There have been many players who have lost their spot in the team due to injuries because their replacement player performed impressively. Few had to wait for their chances while other did not even get another chance. This is the reality. Yes Rahul is a proven player at No. 5 but for Ishan, who has never batted at that position comes in and score 82 against a bowling attack like Pakistan under that pressure, then you cannot compare the two at all,” Gautam Gambhir concluded.