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T20 World Cup: Who Should Keep Wickets?

April 24, 2024 10:44 IST
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IPL 2024 is approaching the business end of the tournament.

The next few weeks will see the teams desperately looking to win at all costs to keep their hopes alive of making it to the play-offs.

For the players too, it will be a golden opportunity to present their cases for the upcoming T20 World Cup with some match-winning performances.

All eyes will certainly be on the Indian players, many of whom need a good showing in IPL 2024 to convince the selectors. The wicket-keeper's position is an area of particular interest with several candidates in the reckoning.

Rishabh Pant has thrown his hat in the ring after a comeback from injury. Veteran Dinesh Karthik is in pole position following his blazing knocks for RCB while Sanju Samson and K L Rahul have also been among the runs along with Ishan Kishan.

A look at the candidates for the wicket-keeper's slot for India in the T20 World Cup:

Rishabh Pant

After he suffered multiple injuries in a car accident in December 2022, Pant has never looked as if he was away from the game. He didn't make a good start in his first two games before he got back on track with successive fifties against the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

He played another good knock of 41 from 24 balls in Delhi's victory against LSG, but struggled to get the boundaries against Sunrisers Hyderabad in a sedate knock of 44 from 35 balls.

Unless he comes up with an explosive knock to match Dinesh Karthik, his place in the T20 World Cup team remains doubtful

Pant, who has scoree 254 runs in eight games at a strike rate of 150, needs to up his batting in the remaining games to convince the selectors.

With the gloves, Pant has been quite reliable, taking eight catches and effecting three stumpings. His sharp glovework against Gujarat Titans, when he took two catches and as many stumpings, came in for special praise.

Dinesh Karthik

Karthik has been one of the rare bright spots in an otherwise forgettable campaign for RCB in IPL 2024.

Karthik, who last played for India in the 2022 T20 World Cup, looks set for a likely comeback after doing commentary for the ODI World Cup just a few months ago.

Karthik was the first choice wicket-keeper for India in the 2022 T20 World Cup ahead of Pant, but after failing in the first four games he made way for the Delhi youngster, who played in the last two games.

The 38 year old has proved to be unstoppable in the death overs, smashing 251 runs in eight games at an incredible strike rate of nearly 200.

His stunning counter-attack against Sunrisers, when he blasted 83 from 35 balls, nearly saw RCB chase a world record 287 as they fell narrowly short.

With India in the hunt for a specialist finisher to take on the bowlers in the death overs, there can't be anyone better than Karthik on current form.

Sanju Samson

Samson has had a splendid showing with the bat and gloves for the Rajasthan Royals.

The Royals captain has shown that he is the perfect fit for the No. 3 slot for the World Cup with some strong performances, hitting 314 runs in eight games, with 3 fifties, at a strike rate of 152.

The highly-rated Samson has been guilty of not being able to replicate his IPL form at the international level in the past and he will hope to set things right if he gets another opportunity.

On current form, he certainly deserves to be in the World Cup squad, but faces competition for a place in the middle order

If not as a wicket-keeper, Samson could also get the nod as a specialist batter who could also double up as the back-up 'keeper.

K L Rahul

Rahul played in the 2023 ODI World Cup as the 'keeper-batter but he could find it difficult to find a place in the T20 World Cup team.

Rahul hasn't played a T20 match for India since the World Cup in 2022, and given his strike rate in IPL 2024 he might find it difficult to convince the selectors.

After stroking 58 in LSG's opening game against the Rajasthan Royals, Rahul went through a slump before he bounced back with a cracking half-century against the Chennai Super Kings.

On a pitch where batting was not that easy, Rahul showed great class to stroke a match-winning 82 from 53 balls against a tough CSK bowling attack.

What could go against Rahul is that he has played as opener in all the seven games so far, a position where India already have a lot of options.

Rahul with a tally of 286 runs at a strike rate of 143 hasn't set the stage on fire in IPL 2024, but just like Samson, he could be picked a specialist batter cum back-up wicket-keeper.

Jitesh Sharma

Not so long ago, Jitesh Sharma was India's preferred wicket-keeper in T20s. But his stock has fallen rapidly in the last couple of months.

With Pant back and Karthik in top form, Jitesh needed a super showing with the bat in IPL 2024, which he has not managed so far.

Jitesh has scored 128 runs in seven games at a strike rate of 125, with a highest of 29, and unless he plays some blazing knocks in the second half of the IPL, he might find himself out of favour.

Ishan Kishan

Kishan missed out on a couple months of international cricket at the start of the year after he clashed with the team management over not playing domestic cricket.

His performances with the bat have not been up to the mark in IPL 2024, having fallen early in the last two games for the Mumbai Indians.

Playing as the opener, Kishan has made 192 runs from eight games, with an impressive strike rate of 168, with just one fifty.

It is clear that Kishan will be unable to impress the selectors on the basis of his current form.

Dhruv Jurel

Jurel made waves with some fine knocks and his wicket-keeping during the Test series against England.

But he will find it difficult to break into the World Cup team after a below-par showing with the bat so far in IPL 2024 and also the fact that he is not keeping wickets for the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2024.

Jurel hasn't done much with the bat so far, tallying just 50 runs in five innings.

Who Should Be India's Wicket-Keeper for The T20 World Cup Vote!

Photographs: BCCI

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