Sanjay Manjrekar, the former Indian cricketer, expressed his disappointment with Team India’s selection for the ICC World Test Championship final against Australia. He particularly disagreed with the decision to include KS Bharat as the wicket-keeper instead of Ishan Kishan, stating that he was slightly let down by the overall selection.
The highly anticipated summit clash began at the Oval on Wednesday, June 7, with India winning the toss and opting to bowl first amidst overcast conditions. Leading up to the marquee game, the focus was on India’s choice of wicket-keeper in the absence of regular keeper Rishabh Pant.
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In a conversation with ESPN Cricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar expressed his discontent with India’s selection process, particularly the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin and the preference given to KS Bharat over Ishan Kishan.
Sanjay Manjrekar stated, “I am slightly disappointed with the selection – the exclusion of Ashwin from the start and the choice of KS Bharat over Ishan Kishan. India has witnessed the advantages of having someone like Rishabh Pant. I’m not saying Ishan Kishan is a Rishabh Pant, but even having 10-20% of Rishabh Pant’s capabilities would have been brilliant, especially considering India’s batting weaknesses.”
I Would Have Opted For The X-Factor: Sanjay Manjrekar
The former cricketer further emphasized that the difference in the glove work between KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan was not significant enough to justify Bharat’s selection over Kishan.
“Comparing KS Bharat and Ishan Kishan as keepers, I don’t believe there is a noticeable difference. Therefore, I would have opted for the X-factor. Considering what Rishabh Pant has achieved in that position for India, particularly in away Test matches over the past couple of years, it would have been a wise decision,” Sanjay Manjrekar added.
While KS Bharat has featured in four Test matches for India during the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy at home, Ishan Kishan is yet to make his Test debut. In terms of their performance in first-class cricket, both players have similar statistics, with Bharat averaging 37.27 in 90 matches and Kishan averaging 38.76 in 49 games.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s disappointment with India’s selection indicates the importance of having a dynamic wicket-keeper like Rishabh Pant, who has made a significant impact in Test matches. However, the Indian team management chose KS Bharat for the crucial encounter against Australia, believing in his abilities to contribute to the team’s success in the highly anticipated final of the World Test Championship.