Contrary to the popular opinion, including that of the Indian skipper Virat Kohli, former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar wants Rishabh Pant to continue as the team's wicketkeeper-batsman in limited-overs cricket instead of KL Rahul.
Rahul's versatility was the key revelation from India's 2-1 ODI series win against Australia at home. Rahul batted at No.3 in the opener and scored 47 runs, and pulled off an astounding 52-ball 80 in the second ODI where he batted at No.5. And besides that, he also performed the role of a wicketkeeper after Pant incurred a concussion while batting in Mumbai and Rahul performed impressively. Impressed with his dual role, Kohli revealed that the team will persist with Rahul as their wicketkeeping option ahead of Pant as the option provides more balance to the team.
However, Gavaskar feels India should go with Pant as they need a finisher at No.6 while also providing a left-hand option in the middle order.
"I will go with Rishabh Pant in the limited-overs cricket. If you need a finisher at No. 6 then Rishabh Pant can do that for the team," Gavaskar told India Today.
"Also he is a left-handed batsman, so considering the Indian batting line-up where we have only one left-handed batsman in form of Shikhar Dhawan, so if we have another southpaw in top-order then it will be beneficial for the team. So I will go with Rishabh Pant," he added.
Kohli, however, admitted that the addition of Rahul as their wicketkepeer would help the management add two all-rounders to the playing XI.
"Rahul really brings in a good balance if he can keep and bat that well in that position (No. 5). He has come into the slot and he has done well so we will have to persist with that a little bit and see where that takes us and not necessarily be confused about the other options we have."
"So I think lack of clarity in terms of positions has really hurt us in the past. Now that we understand that this feels right, we will go ahead with that for a while and figure out if this is the right thing to do or not. You can chop and change immediately and create confusion among the group. I don't see any reason why we should change this balance. It has done well for the team and we will continue with the same for a while."