Former India batsman VVS Laxman recalls India’s current head coach Rahul Dravid praising Andhra wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat, who was outstanding behind the wickets despite replacing Wriddhiman Saha in Kanpur during the first Test versus New Zealand.
Despite India’s first-choice keeper Rishabh Pant resting for the series, Bharat has been picked as a standby for Saha, who made his Test debut versus Australia in Adelaide last year.
Unfortunately, owing to a stiff neck, the 37-year-old had to withdraw on the 3rd day, and Bharat seized the chance, performing well on a challenging course with variable rebound and transform.
If you don’t have a reliable wicketkeeper then you’re going to miss a lot of chances: VVS Laxman
Bharat took a superb low catch off Ashwin’s bowling to dismiss Will Young, as well as a challenging stumping opportunity to dismiss Tom Latham and a caught-behind opportunity to dismiss Ross Taylor.
Laxman recalled his chat with Dravid, “I still remember Rahul Dravid raving about KS Bharat’s wicketkeeping skills. He told me that Bharat has good keeping skills, next only to Wriddhiman Saha in Indian cricket. It’s good to see him repaying the faith of the selectors and the head coach. I think he has justified the confidence shown in him by the selectors and the coach,” he added.
In such circumstances, Laxman stressed the importance of having a reliable keeper. “In these quality spin conditions, if you don’t have a reliable wicketkeeper then you’re going to miss a lot of chances. What we saw today was great technique and great presence of mind, he didn’t panic at all for someone who has come into this team recently and got to play only because Saha was injured,” concluded VVS Laxman.
However, following the day’s play, Bharat claimed that he just had 12 minutes to prepare after learning at the last minute that Saha would be unable to participate. “I was doing my morning routine, and then the support staff told me to get ready. I only had 12 minutes to get set for the game,” in a video shared by BCCI, Bharat was reported as stating during a chat with Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel.