Former player Sanjay Manjrekar says India need to look at another wicket-keeper in the Test format till Rishabh Pant makes a comeback as K S Bharat has not contributed much with the bat.
Though his wicket-keeping has come in for praise, Bharat, 30, has struggled to make an impact with the bat in Tests. He came into the England Test series on the back of a century for India A against England, but has managed just 92 runs in four innings in the first two Tests, including twin failures in the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
'It's a lot like he's playing his first series. He's played before, he played all four Test matches against Australia and Rishabh Pant is due to come any time soon. So, I am not sure whether it is worthwhile and makes sense to keep investing in K S Bharat,' Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
Ishan Kishan was picked as the second wicket-keeper for the South Africa Test series in December before the Jharkhand wicket-keeper pulled out of the series citing mental fatigue with Bharat named as his replacement, but he didn't get any match as K L Rahul kept wickets in both the games.
Manjrekar stated that India should look at another wicket-keeper with Bharat not delivering with the bat.
India have Dhruv Jurel in their squad, who was a surprise inclusion for the first two Tests, after some strong domestic performances. The 22-year-old Uttar Pradesh player, known for his finishing abilities, has been on the selectors' radar for the wicket-keeping role in Tests.
'He's also not 20 years old and India had moved on from K S Bharat and gone to Ishan Kishan. So he's done just enough to maybe just keep his place in the side. This team management believes in being fair to every individual, but I would personally look at another option before Rishabh Pant comes in and takes his place,' Manjrekar said.
Bharat has scored 221 runs in seven Tests at an average of 20, without a single half-century in 12 innings since making his debut in Feburary last year.
In first class cricket, he has made 5,101 runs in 96 matches at an average of 36, with 10 centuries and 27 fifties.
'India will start looking at K S Bharat whether his 'keeping is that good we can afford to have somebody who is not contributing as much with the bat. India of late and the world over, if you see is going for 'keepers who are decent good 'keepers but contribute with the bat,' said Manjrekar.
'I mean look at Rishabh Pant in the last 3-4 years, his contribution with the bat. So, those are things that India will have to look at.'