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‘Not sure if Rahul possesses gifted ability’ – Kirmani wants Pant behind stumps

Rahul Pant
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Syed Kirmani, the former Indian wicketkeeper and World Cup winner, has had his say about the wicketkeeping conundrum that the Indian team is currently facing in limited-overs cricket, preferring Rishabh Pant over KL Rahul for the role.

Kirmani believes that the makeshift glovework of KL Rahul cannot be used as a long-term option, and that India need to groom Rishabh Pant for that role. Kirmani admitted that he has his doubts about Rahul’s wicketkeeping prowess and isn’t sure if the right-handed batsman “possesses the gifted ability”.

“Do the knowledgeable know that a wicketkeeper has to be born?” Kirmani argued while in conversation with Hindustan Times. “When I say born, he or she has to be gifted with ‘good vision, supported with athletic agility, reflexes, sense of anticipation’. I am not sure if KL Rahul possesses this gifted ability, I have only seen this lad batting all by himself on a bowling machine at the NCA, before representing Karnataka. When he started keeping wickets, I don’t know. All the best to him.”

Pant, however, isn’t going through the best of form in international cricket and has been relegated to the bench in favour of Rahul, the part-time wicketkeeper, a role he seems to have sealed after India’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year.

“Yes, he [Pant] did not capitalise on the chances provided to him,” he said. “Wicketkeeping is the most thankless and difficult job in cricket and I believe Pant has to be properly groomed. I agree that talent has to be encouraged, but mind you, in every profession, talented and promising youngsters have to be under the study of experienced seniors. Otherwise, a lot of water will go under the bridge by the time the youngster comes up to the expectations.

“Pant is immensely skilled. That skill will bloom and flourish with experience, it cannot be overnight. It will take a minimum of two seasons if one is a quick learner.”

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