It’s been 12 years since India won the inaugural World T20 (2007) that changed the course of Indian cricket completely. India went on to become the no. 1 Test team and won the ODI World Cup in 2011, but have failed to win another T20 Championship since then. Their best performance came in 2014 when they finished as the runners-up.
In the previous edition, they came as close as the semis, but West Indies were too hot to handle on that particular occasion. With the T20 world cup held in Australia in October next year, the Indian team would be eyeing to have another T20 trophy in the cabinet. Even though the team looks well settled to take on any opposition, there are certain areas that need to be addressed.
One such important area is to groom a wicket-keeper who can act as a back-up for MS Dhoni, with question marks on his availability for the upcoming series. To fill in the shoes of such a great player is a huge task. Let us look at three keepers who might be groomed as the back-up keeper for the T20 world cup:
1. Sanju Samson:
Nobody expected this starlet to be successful when he made his first-class debut at the age of 17. In 2013, he was voted as the “Emerging talent of the season” after some brilliant performances in the IPL and CLT20. From then on until now, he has represented different franchises and has been a very effective wicket-keeper batsman for his unit.
He has played 89 matches in the IPL scoring over 2,200 runs and has affected 34 dismissals as a keeper. His consistent run elevated him as the vice-captain of the U-19 side in 2013. He was also included in the national side on various occasions but managed only one T20 game, which he played against Zimbabwe back in 2015. Despite the limited exposure in the international arena, he should be tried and tested in order to have options ahead of the T20 World Cup. He is someone who has the potential to win big games for the team.
2. Ishan Kishan:
Jharkhand would be very proud to see another player representing India as the wicket-keeper. Ishan Kishan made his mark very early as he led the U-19 team in the 2016 World Cup, where they finished as the runners-up. In the same year, he was the leading scorer for his state with a mammoth 273 against Delhi in Ranji Trophy. His exploits earned him a place in the Gujarat Lions in the IPL.
He was later bought by Mumbai Indians, where he was often sent as an opener or at number four where he managed to get runs at a rate close to the 150-mark. He has played in 67 T20s, scoring a tally of over 1500 runs in his career. In addition to that, he has been very sharp behind the stumps accounting to 43 dismissals in the shortest format. With the ongoing Duleep Trophy, Ishan Kishan has a golden opportunity in his hands to get selected for the Indian team.
3. KL Rahul:
KL Rahul has been part of the Indian team as a top-order batsman for the past five years. He has also managed the role of a wicket-keeper on several occasions in the IPL and the domestic format. Utilizing him in the role will be an advantage, as an extra batsman/bowler could be played. In addition to that, Rahul averages more than 40 in the T20s with two hundreds and five half-centuries to his name.
The experience that he brings to the table can make a difference with respect to the outcome. Rahul made his IPL debut in 2013 and is known for his exploits up the order. He was impressive in the previous two editions accumulating 659 and 593 runs respectively. Apart from this, he has a safe pair of hands that could actually help take some blinders. With the quality he brings in with the bat and the gloves, there is no doubt that he should be groomed as one of the back-up keepers for the T20 world cup.