The selection committee of the BCCI on Monday revealed that KL Rahul has been officially ruled out of the impending World Test Championship final against Australia next month at The Oval and named Ishan Kishan as his replacement. Earlier last week, Rahul, the captain of Lucknow Super Giants, was sidelined from the remainder of the 2023 IPL season owing to an injury in his right thigh. However, fans have been left agitated or rather furious at the selection, question the logic behind picking an uncapped player in Ishan over an experienced option in Wriddhiman Saha or an in-form Sarfaraz Khan, who has been phenomenal in the domestic circuit.
Although, Rahul has never served as a wicketkeeper in the red-ball format for India, veteran cricketers had called for his selection over primary option in KS Bharat, who did din the gloves in the recent Border-Gavaskar series at home. But Rahul’s injury left Bharat as the frontrunner for the role in the WTC Final. He has so far played six innings in four appearances for India, scoring 101 runs with a best score of 44.
Kishan, on the other hand, is yet to make his debut for India in Test cricket despite appearing in 14 ODIs and 27 T20Is so far. In his first-class career, he has scored 2985 runs in 48 appearances at an average of 38.76, laced with six centuries. However, in the recent Ranji Trophy, he managed just two games to score 180 runs.
But the player that took the 2022/23 season of the Ranji Trophy by storm was Sarfaraz, having scored 556 runs in six matches for Mumbai at 92.66 with three centuries and a fifty. Saha, meanwhile, surfaced as an option after his phenomenal wicketkeeping show in the ongoing IPL 2023 and his batting prowess as well, especially after the crazy knock of 81 runs in 43 balls in the last IPL 2023 game for Gujarat Titans.
What left fans on Twitter enraged as that both Sarfaraz and Saha were snubbed by the selectors when naming Rahul’s replacement and the stand-by list. Suryakumar Yadav, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Mukesh Kumar were the three players named as stand-bys for the WTC final.
Here is how Twitter reacted to BCCI’s selection…
Last year, Saha had admitted that the door for his return to the Indian team has closed forever. “Don’t think so I will be selected for India anymore,” the wicketkeeper-batter told Sports Tak in an interview, “Coach and chief selectors had already informed me. If they wanted to select me, I could have been part of the England tour based on my IPL performance. It’s a clear decision (on their part). But I am only concerned about playing cricket. Till the time I am feeling good, I will continue.”
The wait for Sarfaraz, on the other hand, will continue and BCCI might consider him for the next big Test series.