Saba Karim backs ‘regular keeper’ over KL Rahul for England Tests

Saba Karim, KL Rahul

With the India vs England Test series set to begin from January 25 in Hyderabad, Rohit Sharma-led India would look to find the right team balance. While India has an established core of its top order and bowling line-up, the big debate is who will play between KL Rahul, KS Bharat and Dhruv Jurel as the wicketkeeper-batsman in the first Test match.

KL Rahul scored a ton on his test comeback against South Africa and has been India’s first choice goalkeeper in recent international games. On the other hand, KS Bharat played the back-up wicketkeeper’s role for a long time and made his Test debut against Australia last year. However, Bharat did not live up to expectations and was dropped from the team after the tour. Dhruv Jurel will be playing his first Test series and his chances of playing in the first Test match are very low.

While KL Rahul has a better chance of playing in the first Test match, the Indian right-handed batsman has been in brilliant form since the day he returned from his injury in the Indian team. Former Indian wicketkeeper Saba Karim also praised KL Rahul and stated that he is “in sync” with the wicket-keeping demand in the Indian Test side and that India was smart enough to use him abroad. However, Karim added that for a home series, India will have to go back to a regular goalkeeper.

Saba Karim on KL Rahul’s inclusion as goalkeeper in IND vs ENG first test match

While speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Saba Karim said: “Most of the time you keep the wicket close to the seamers and that puts less strain on the mind and body. But I think for a home series, India will have to go back to a regular wicketkeeper.”

“I have seen KS Bharat,” Karim said. “I have seen the test matches he played. There is constant progress in his maintenance skills. I think it is not easy to follow that path as India has prepared itself, [for] the latest series at home. Hopefully, I think KS Bharat will have more confidence once he starts giving up some valuable runs. They complement each other. As an all-rounder, it is a complementary skill. “One helps the other.”

“No, not in Test matches,” Karim said when asked if the balance has changed to the point where a wicketkeeper’s batting ability takes priority over his keeping skills. “And it shouldn’t be that way because it’s played over a five-day period. Then you need a specialist. But I think the demands have changed because now we need a specialist goalkeeper who is versatile.”

KL Rahul came under a lot of criticism for his poor form in early 2023, which is why he was also kicked out of the team. Rahul also suffered a thigh injury during IPL 2023 and had to be out of the field for 3-4 months. Rahul underwent intense training during his rehabilitation period and faced a lot of pain.

However, it was a great return for KL Rahul to international cricket as he scored a century in his comeback match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023. Rahul also kept wickets for India during the ODI World Cup 2023 and took some brilliant catches behind of the lands. . Rahul also played crucial innings during the competition, of which the most remembered knock is 95* against Australia in India’s first match of the tournament.

The Indian team can also give KS Bharat a chance as he is more of a wicketkeeper batsman while Rahul can only play as a lead batsman. Bharat smashed a century against the England Lions during the first unofficial Test played in Ahmedabad.

England are the only team to have defeated India in India in the last 12 years, while they have also had to face humiliating defeats in the last two series.