KL Rahul in action for Indian cricket team© AFP
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri believes that KL Rahul should be included in the team in place of KS Bharat to bolster the Indian batting line-up in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. KL Rahul signalled his return of form with a brilliant half-century in the first ODI match against Australia on Friday and he even pulled off a great catch while keeping wickets. On the other hand, KS Bharat came under a lot of fire for a couple of fumbles during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and he was also not able to set the stage on fire with his batting during the four encounters.
Shastri backed Rahul to make a comeback for the summit clash against Australia at the Oval.
“He has really done well to keep the selectors interested ahead of the WTC final,” Shastri said on commentary during the first ODI encounter between India and Australia in Mumbai.
“Two things, one for the ODI series when Rohit Sharma returns and the other for the WTC final. India can bolster their batting if Rahul can keep wickets. Rahul can bat in the middle-order No. 5 or No. 6. In England, you have to generally keep wickets from far behind. You don’t have to keep up to the spinners a lot. He has 3 more ODIs to go before the IPL. He can cement his place in Indian team.”
Rahul scored a fine 75 under pressure to star in India’s five-wicket victory over Australia.
India lead the three-match series 1-0.
Chasing a target of 189, India were 16/3 and subsequently 39/4 but Rahul held his nerves during a 91-ball knock that had seven fours and a six. He added 108 for the unbroken sixth wicket stand alongside Ravindra Jadeja (45 not out).
Earlier, India bowled out Australia for 188.
Stand-in skipper Hardik Pandya won the toss and elected to field first and his bowling unit, led by Mohammed Shami (3/17), fired at the Wankhede Stadium to finish off Australia’s innings in just 35.4 overs. Mohammed Siraj also got three wickets.
Opening in place of the injured David Warner, Mitchell Marsh top-scored for Australia with a 65-ball 81, but the rest, including skipper Steve Smith, failed to make any worthwhile contribution.
(With PTI inputs)
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