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Who should be India’s wicketkeepers across formats? Wisden readers have their say

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ever since MS Dhoni‘s international career went into limbo, India’s wicketkeepers’ slot has been a much-debated topic, with Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha and KL Rahul all emerging as contenders across formats.

In Tests, the conundrum began back in 2014, when Dhoni quit the longest format, a void that was dutifully filled by Saha before he got injured, and Pant staked his claim for the spot. Dhoni continued to be the primary choice in ODIs and T20Is until last year’s World Cup, following which the former captain made himself unavailable for selection.

Pant and Rahul have been the top two options in ODIs and T20Is, with Rahul being preferred for both the formats in this year’s tour of New Zealand, keeping Pant on the sidelines.

We asked Wisden India’s followers to select their first-choice wicketkeepers in all three formats.

And Saha, the veteran Test stumper, emerged as the preferred choice at home for many, given his unmatched ability to keep up to spinners, and handle the odd turn and bounce on Indian pitches, as well as late swing.

For limited overs, Rahul’s form with the bat seemed to have given him an edge over Pant. That said, the 22-year-old Pant is still looked upon as the long-term option to eventually replace the 35-year-old Saha in Tests.

Not everyone is convinced with Saha’s recent form with the bat, though, and would prefer Pant in the Test side. Mind you, he has two overseas Test centuries, more than any other Indian wicketkeeper. His ball-striking skills in the IPL have also made him a popular choice – after 54 games, his strike-rate is a stunning 162.69.

KL Rahul, although not a specialist wicketkeeper, has been a handy option both in the IPL and in a makeshift role for India on occasion. Given his recent work behind the sticks, some are happy with him to continue in the role in both white-ball formats. In the IPL, too, Rahul has been a revelation for Kings XI Punjab, averaging 50+ in the last two seasons.

Sanju Samson, who has been a regular at the IPL but has featured in only four T20Is across five years, also found some support from the readers.

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