Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has expressed his preference for Ishan Kishan to be included in the playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, instead of KS Bharat. Kishan, initially named as a reserve player, was called up as a replacement for the injured KL Rahul, who suffered a thigh injury during the IPL.
During a discussion on the Star Sports show “Game Plan,” Sanjay Manjrekar shared his opinion, saying, “I would like to see him (Kishan) play in that one Test match. I know it’s a slightly out-of-the-box suggestion, but we have seen KS Bharat and what he can do. He is a steady sort of batter and a decent keeper.”
Manjrekar believes that Ishan Kishan can fulfill a similar role to Rishabh Pant, who has been a crucial player for India in Test matches. Kishan boasts an impressive record in first-class cricket, scoring 2985 runs at an average of 38.76 in 48 matches. He has also showcased his skills as a wicketkeeper, taking 99 catches and effecting 11 stumpings.
With regards to Kishan’s potential impact, Sanjay Manjrekar added, “We are missing Rishabh Pant, who was India’s best Test batter for the last two years by a mile. So if you want that Rishabh Pant kind of effect down the order to put pressure back on the opposition, maybe Ishan Kishan is the solution.”
Aaron Finch, the former Australian cricketer, agreed with Manjrekar’s assessment, stating, “I think that’s a really good point. I myself had Ishan Kishan in the playing XI because at some point in the game, the pressure will come on, where you need to swing the momentum. Guys who play aggressively, who put the pressure back onto Australia, will have more of a chance, I think.”
While Bharat displayed competent wicketkeeping skills during India’s recent home series against Australia, his batting performance was below par, managing only 101 runs in six innings at an average of 20.20. It remains to be seen whether the Indian team management will prioritize Bharat’s superior glovework or opt for Kishan’s explosive batting abilities for the crucial WTC final.