India vs New Zealand: Dilip Doshi bats for K.L. Rahul in Test squad

Former spin ace Doshi questions team selection for the Tests in New Zealand. He prefers Rahul to Prithvi Shaw, Wriddhiman Saha to Rishabh Pant.

Former India cricketer Dilip Doshi at his residence on Friday.   -  SHAYAN ACHARYA

As India suffered yet another batting collapse in the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday, former spin ace Dilip Doshi wondered why K.L. Rahul was left out of the squad for the longer format of the game.

Despite a successful outing in the ODI and the T20I series against the Black Caps, Rahul was not picked for the Test series. Instead, the seasoned campaigner is currently playing for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Bengal.

“The selection committee and the think tank of the Indian cricket have got something wrong and twisted. They are not thinking alike is what I feel. They have persisted with KL Rahul in different areas, and it appears that finally he has come of age, at least appears so. I would have persisted with him in the Tests against New Zealand,” Doshi told Sportstar.

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After an embarrassing defeat in the first Test last week, India was bundled out for 242 on the opening day of the second Test. “I would have also persisted with Shikhar Dhawan if he was fit. I would have not taken Prithvi Shaw and gone with players who are proven performers. All the youngsters like Shreyas Iyer and others can wait because technique is very important in the game and I think Rahul has just about got the things right,” Doshi, who featured in 33 Test matches for India, said. “Playing like this with an experimental team and losing badly overseas is really not acceptable…”

Not the one to mince his words, Doshi is also surprised to see Wriddhiman Saha warming the bench. The team management has decided to opt for Rishabh Pant in a bid to exploit his batting skills. However, Pant could only score 12 runs on Saturday, after amassing 44 in the first Test.

“I would play the best wicketkeeper in India first, and that’s Saha. He is not a mean batsman either. So, wicketkeeping is such an important position that I would really not mess around with it. In the absence of Dhoni, who left a few years back, Wriddhi should be the best choice for India. Pant has much spoken about by many critics, and I'm sure he has a future but if I were him, I would perfect my wicketkeeping technique first before donning the India cap at the Test level,” Doshi said.

Talking about India’s defeat in the first Test, Doshi said: “I don’t think it's a shame to be defeated by a better team on the day. We all have lost games in the past. But the way I look at it is, actually have you learned anything from that?”

“The footwork of the batsmen was unbelievably poor. Most of the players were caught within the crease. They were neither on the front foot nor on the back foot. Most of the batsman's front foot pointed towards the middle of the pitch straight over the bowler like they do to make room to hit a ball in a T20 game,” Doshi said. “If that muscle memory is going to dictate the rest of your career, then god help Test cricket for India. I do not see that we can win games overseas easily, unless we mentally change the approach,” the former cricketer said.

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