Former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin believes Ishan Kishan would be a strong option as a wicket-keeper batter in the absence of Rishabh Pant for next month’s four-match Test series against Australia.
Ishan was handed a maiden call-up in India’s Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar trophy beginning at Nagpur on February 9.
Azhar, who is doing commentary in the International League T20 in UAE, said what happened to Pant is very unfortunate but Ishan’s aggressive style of batting makes him a strong contender for the wicketkeeper-batter’s slot.
Pant was severely injured in a car accident in the last week of December while he was travelling from Delhi to Roorkee. He will be sidelined for most of the 2023 season as he recovers from multiple injuries.
“Ishan Kishan has been selected in the Indian Test team on his recent form I think he will be a stronger contender for wicket-keeper batsman option. He is a left handed batsman,” Azhar told PTI in an interview.
However, it will not be easy for Ishan to make it to the playing XI of the Test team due to the presence of KS Bharat.
Bharat has been with the team for almost a year now and has scored three half-centuries in the last four first-class matches. It also included an innings of 77 runs while representing India A against Bangladesh A.
Kishan was unable to retain his place in the ODI team despite scoring a double century against Bangladesh.
Azhar lauded the decision to pick Ishan and Suryakumar Yadav in the Test squad but was not pleased with the fact that the two were not picked for the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka.
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“When the player is in form, it’s not right to have them on the bench. Suryakumar Yadav has the potential to play for the Indian team in all three formats. He has also done well in his last Ranji match,” Azhar said.
“As much as I have seen Suryakumar’s batting, I can say that like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, he too can also play in all three formats. After a long time, India has got such a batsman who can play in all formats.
“It is very difficult to make a place in the team and both these players will have to prove themselves, if they find a place in the team.” The former India batter player, who led the Indian team in 99 Tests and 334 ODIs, also advocated separate captaincy for each format in international cricket.