India will be hosting the World Cup 2023 in October-November. While Rohit Sharma’s Team India will be starting the tournament as firm favorites – being the home, and the last three ODI World Cups have been won by the home teams – there are a couple of major injury concerns, and not of form this time, in the national side.
Jasprit Bumrah is currently rehabbing after undergoing back surgery, and the fast bowler is expected to return to bowling by August and slowly amp up his workload. The BCCI selectors and the team management are hoping that Bumrah will be fit and fresh for the ODI World Cup 2023 at home.
On the other hand, Rishabh Pant is unlikely to be fit in time for the World Cup. Pant suffered a major, fatal car accident in December, and of the many injuries, the most serious and major ones were those on his knees and limbs. Pant has reportedly undergone three surgeries on his knees and legs.
He is feeling better and better with time – he also attended a Delhi Capitals match in Delhi and has been using crutches to support his walking – but there is no way that he will be fit to play and carry workload of cricketing action this year.
In Rishabh Pant’s absence, who will be India’s wicket-keeper in ODI World Cup 2023?
So Kannanur Lokesh Rahul is likely to be the wicket-keeper for India in the ODI World Cup 2023. Here’s why:
Well, to start off, KL Rahul was the wicket-keeper in the ODI team in recent times even when Pant was fit and available. Pant’s form in white-ball cricket hasn’t been the best – a shade of his form and confidence in Test cricket – and India have used Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan, and Kannanur Lokesh Rahul as wicket-keepers in white-ball cricket since 2022.
Before his accident, Pant was also demoted from the vice-captaincy role, with Hardik Pandya usurping the leadership group and being the new deputy to Rohit Sharma. Because Pant didn’t have a certain place in the white-ball teams.
Talking about KL Rahul, the right-hander has been impressive and has shown great signs at number 5 in the ODI team. At number 5 in ODIs, he averages 53 with the bat – his best batting average at any position in ODIs – and has scored 742 runs in 18 innings, out of which he’s remained unbeaten 4 times and has scored his runs at a good strike rate of 99. Rahul has hit 1 century and 7 fifties in his new role.
In this role of a middle-order batter – he also averages 40 at number 4, but that was largely as a non-wicketkeeper – Rahul has shown great adaptability of batting both conservatively when early wickets fell, and aggressively in the latter half of the innings. Basically, he’s shown his temperament, class, technique, and ability to bat according to as the situation demands in the middle order.
Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson will be competing for the backup keeper and backup batsman’s spot in India’s World Cup squad.