WTC final: Ravi Shastri, Dinesh Karthik offer suggestions on India's wicketkeeper

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Dinesh Karthik | Photo: ICC

New Delhi : Former India head coach Ravi Shastri and experienced wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik have offered their views on India's wicketkeeping option for the World Test Championship final against Australia.

With key players sidelined due to injuries, which include first-choice wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and back-up wicketkeeper KL Rahul, the Indian setup is in a tough spot with the important one-off Test against Australia set to unfold at The Oval on June 7.

KS Bharat was chosen to don the gloves for the recent Border-Gavaskar Test series. The 29-year-old gave a pretty good account of himself as a wicket-keeper but failed to show his prowess with the bat, as he managed to register 101 runs from six innings in tricky conditions.

Shastri was asked about the wicket-keeper that India should go for in the latest episode of The ICC Review and said the choice depends on the conditions at the south London venue.

"See, that's another tight one (decision). Now, if two spinners are playing, then you would want Bharat to play," Shastri said as quoted by ICC.

"You have to see who's a better keeper. Is it Bharat or Ishan Kishan? Now, the fact that Bharat was given a run against Australia, where he played all the Test matches, I think he would be the obvious choice to go with."

The second choice is the free run-scoring wicketkeeping batter, Ishan Kishan. The young left-handed batter warmed the benches during the four-match Test series against Australia. He found himself in the WTC squad after Rahul picked up an injury during the IPL and was later on ruled out of the competition.

The southpaw lends a bit of extra dimension to an otherwise right-hand dominant India batting line-up.

Shastri believes that there is not much between the pair.

"There's not much there. It's not that one guy is far better than the other," Shastri said.

"Batting will also come into play, whether you want Ishan Kishan's batting to shore up the middle order. That's another thing you'll take into perspective."

"Are you going to go with four fast bowlers? Then there's not much spin and you just need someone decent behind the stumps to do the job."

"So that you would leave to team management. Just before the game, they would weigh in just these little things that I've just said, and obviously look at current form."

However, Karthik thinks the selection is a simple one, with the veteran wicket-keeper - who played in the IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore - choosing the experience of Bharat for the big occasion.

"I think Bharat will be a pretty straightforward choice because playing Ishan Kishan in his debut and a Test match straight in the World Test Championship Final is asking a bit too much," Karthik said.

"And the fact that KS Bharat probably tips the scale in favour of himself just a little bit with this keeping edge that he has got. So I do think they will go in with KS Bharat for the final."

Though 29-year-old Bharat has played only four Test matches so far, he has the experience of 90 first-class games in the longer format. Kishan is still to make his debut in Tests and has only 48 first-class appearances behind him.

While Bharat may be the better option behind the stumps, Kishan is an accomplished batter and already has an ODI double-century to his name following his superb innings of 210 against Bangladesh in Chattogram at the end of last year. (ANI)

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