Why BCCI Prefers KS Bharat, Not KL Rahul? England Tour of India 2024

BCCI Prefers KS Bharat

After playing on the severely bouncy pitches in South Africa, Team India will be playing the 5-match test series on their home ground against England. Shockingly, BCCI prefers KS Bharat as a specialized wicket-keeper, by making a shift from KL Rahul for the test series.

The first test match starts on 25th January 2024( Thursday) at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad.

In contrast to the South African pitches, a mediocre wicket-keeper like KS Bharat has been prioritized on spin-friendly home conditions.

Recently, the BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar announced the 16-member squad for the first two test matches against England. Rohit Sharma will lead the red-ball cricket series.

Ishan Kishan is the major exclusion from the 16-member squad. Since he took a break from the South Africa tour, he was left out of the ongoing T20I home series against Afghanistan. Perhaps, the mystery deepens with BCCI’s decision rooted in disciplinary actions.

After the World Test Championship finals against Australia in 2023, KS Bharat makes a return to the Indian squad for the wicketkeeper role. Especially, to fulfill Ishan Kishan’s absence BCCI has roped him for the 5-match test series

Among these three wicket-keepers in the squad namely KL Rahul, KS Bharat, and the uncapped player- Dhruv Jurel, KL Rahul is unlikely to be the prime choice for wicketkeeping.

According to the latest reports, KS Bharat will take responsibility as a keeper behind the stumps. Instead, KL Rahul will return to his routine track of playing a dual role- batsman and fielder. 

Crucial Reasons why BCCI prefers KS Bharat

Playing on a turner track, mostly a majority of spinners will handle the job and fuel up the bowling unit. 

Earlier, the Indian team management told the selection committee led by Ajit Agarkar that KL Rahul was asked to perform wicketkeeping in South Africa due to the inherent bounces offered by the pitch.

Most of the time pacers dominated in those conditions and the ball was collected above the waist height.

But, the conditions may not be the same on the home ground. As a result, BCCI prefers KS Bharat on spin-friendly tracks by preserving KL Rahul’s batting abilities. Also, the ball can either bounce or turn vigorously on such tracks. Consequently, a specialist is required to keep moving up and down frequently as a keeper.

Especially, after undergoing a thigh surgery in May 2023, the selectors didn’t want to make him burn out by making him perform the gloves work as well. Moreover, there are chances of KL Rahul succumbing to injuries if he does the glovework as well.

Additionally, Ishan Kishan who opted himself out of the South African test series is yet to give his confirmation to consider him for the selection.

Moreover, the Indian team consists of a bunch of quality spinners namely- Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Kuldeep Yadav

Plans to rotate Fast Bowlers

Perhaps, the Indian team management has determined to rotate its fast bowlers during the 5-match test series against England. 

Also, not all fast bowlers will be a part of the entire 5-match test series. Core pacers like Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Mukesh Kumar, and Avesh Khan might be rested for the first two test matches. It results in providing proper rest according to workload management.

However, there isn’t any confirmation about Mohammed Shami’s participation in test matches as the pace bowler hasn’t started bowling yet.

Glimpse of Indian squads for first two test matches against England

Here is a short glance at Team India’s 16-member squad for the first two out of five test matches against England:

Team India Squads: 

  1. Rohit Sharma (C)
  2. Yashasvi Jaiswal
  3. Shubman Gill
  4. Virat Kohli
  5. Shreyas Iyer
  6. KL Rahul (Wk)
  7. KL Bharat (Wk)
  8. Dhruv Jurel
  9. Ravichandran Ashwin
  10. Ravindra Jadeja
  11. Kuldeep Yadav
  12. Axar Patel
  13. Jasprit Bumrah (Vc)
  14. Mohammed Siraj
  15. Mukesh Kumar
  16. Avesh Khan

BCCI Prefers KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel as Wicket keepers: Conclusive Facts

KS Bharat has a golden opportunity to make a grand comeback in tests after the World Test Championship finals 2023, where he scored only 5 and 23 runs in both innings.

Out of the 5 test matches, the 30-year-old cricketer scored 129 runs in 8 innings with his highest score of 44 runs.

On the other side, Dhruv Jurel has managed to impress selectors not only for his decent performance for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but also for his pleasing show for Uttar Pradesh in domestic cricket. Dhruv scored 790 runs in 15 first-class matches.

Whereas in IPL, the 22-year-old batsman accumulated a total of 152 runs in 11 innings. It includes his highest score of 34 runs in a thrilling run chase against RCB in IPL 2023.

Overall, by considering KL Rahul as a valuable asset in the batting unit, BCCI prefers KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel as the prime choice for wicketkeeping in the forthcoming test series.