BCCI doesn’t want KL Rahul as keeper. Despite debate over his absence for Afghanistan T20Is, Kishan is the front-runner to grab the keeper’s spot in England Tests as BCCI wants to relieve Rahul.

There is a silver lining for Ishan Kishan but with a condition. The Indian team management has reportedly decided to relieve KL Rahul from keeping duties in Test matches, making Kishan the front-runner to grab the spot in the upcoming five-match series against England starting January 25 provided he proves his fitness in a Ranji Trophy match. Multiple reports suggested that Kishan may have been dropped from the Afghanistan T20Is despite being available for selection. The reason for that could have been mistrust between him and the team management.

India head coach Rahul Dravid, however, made it clear that there was no disciplinary action taken against Kishan. The left-hander was unavailable for selection for the Afghanistan T20Is and he would be considered as soon as he makes himself available but he will have to prove his fitness in a first-class match.

“Absolutely no disciplinary issue. Ishan Kishan was not available for selection. Ishan requested a break, which we agreed on in South Africa. We supported it. He has not yet made himself available. When he is available, he will play domestic cricket and make himself available for selection,” Dravid told reporters in Mohali on the eve of the series-opening T20I.

BCCI doesn't want KL Rahul as keeper
BCCI doesn’t want KL Rahul as keeper

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Why not KL Rahul as the keeper?

On his return to Test cricket, Rahul did a splendid job in his new role as a keeper and middle-order batter. He, however, might not get the same role against England. According to Cricbuzz, the Indian team management doesn’t want to burden Rahul with keeping in the longest format, especially on Indian pitches where the ball is expected to keep low and turn. They want a specialist keeper to handle Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav. But Rahul’s spot in the middle-order is more or less confirmed. He is likely to be picked for the No.5 spot ahead of Shreyas Iyer.

With Rishabh Pant still not fully recovered from the injuries he sustained in a car crash in December 2022 and Wriddhiman Saha told to move on, the selectors don’t have much of an option but to turn to Kishan, who has experience of playing only Test matches but is a regular keeper. He has kept for Jharkhand in 50 first-class matches.

Orders for Ishan Kishan to play
Orders for Ishan Kishan to play

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Where is KS Bharat?

The other keeper in the fray is KS Bharat. The Andhra Pradesh cricketer was ahead of both Kishan and Rahul in the pecking order but his disappointing show in the home series against Australia last year and the WTC final hurt his case. He, however, is likely to feature in the two unofficial tests against England Lions before the Test series. If he does well there, then Kishan will be under pressure.

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