Former India opener and Star Sports commentator Gautam Gambhir believes that Ishan Kishan should be India’s no.5 going forward.
What did Gambir say?
Gambhir believes that Ishan Kishan has done everything possible from the chances he has been given to claim the no.5 spot as a wicket-keeper batter for team India.
“I feel Ishan Kishan has done everything he needs to do to be a frontrunner. Just because he is Ishan Kishan and hasn't played a lot of international cricket, you're saying that KL Rahul should play before him.
But if Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma were in place of Ishan Kishan, would KL Rahul be able to replace them? The answer is ‘no',” Gambhir said while talking to Star Sports.
Gautam Gambhir also explained the importance of recent form when going into a big tournament and why form should be picked ahead of names.
Gautam Gambhir shows middle finger to the crowd; clarifies later
“Tell me something, what is more important to win a championship — name or form? If Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli had scored something similar (four consecutive fifties), would you still say that KL Rahul would replace them?
The point is, when you're gearing up to win the World Cup, you don't see the name, you judge by their form. You choose the player who can perform and win you the World Cup.”
Why does Kishan make sense?
Apart from his blistering form and attacking approach, Kishan gives the Indian top 6 one thing they lack, balance. Top 4 of Team India are all right-handers and adding the left-handed Kishan would mix things up better.
Despite being an opener, Kishan has performed admirably in the middle-order and he is capable of performing under pressure as his 81 ball 82 against a strong Pakistan bowling line-up showed.
A left handed wicket-keeper batting at number 5 with a gung-ho approach, at his best Ishan Kishan could replicate some of the characteristics of India's Ideal player at that position, Rishabh Pant.
A case for KL Rahul
While Kishan has been performing exceptionally well and thus recency bias is in play, it would be unfair to discount KL entirely. He plays both spin and pace well and while not as explosive as Kishan from the off, he has more gears and can play the situation.
KL Rahul averages 53+ batting at no.5 and strikes at a rate of almost 100. These are numbers you can't discard and that is why there are many who feel that the Punjab Kings batter should walk into the playing XI when fit.
However, India ideally wants a dynamic left-handed batter at that position and Kishan's approach suits Team India’s needs going forward to the world cup.
India's World Cup 2023 squad
Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav.