Mohammad Kaif is of the opinion that KL Rahul, who has become India’s first-choice wicket-keeper in limited-overs cricket, should be used only as a backup keeper in order to manage his workload. After covering up for a concussed Pant against Australia, Rahul has made the latter’s place his own.
Having proven his ability as a specialist wicket-keeper for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL), KL Rahul was summoned upon by skipper Virat Kohli in the first ODI against Australia in Wankhede in January when incumbent Rishabh Pant was left concussed by a Pat Cummins bouncer. But while the switch was expected to be a temporary one, Rahul, remarkably, went on to make the position his own and has since featured in every match as the team’s specialist wicket-keeper.
The Karnataka man’s ability to keep adds immense balance to the side, but former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif feels that the right-hander must only be used as a back-up option with the gloves in order to ensure that he’s not burned out.
"People think that Rahul may become our main keeper in the future. But I feel that Rahul should be used as a backup wicketkeeper,” Kaif was quoted as saying by Times of India.
“If the main keeper is injured or he is not with the team then Rahul should be there because if you rely on him as the main keeper then chances of injuries will grow as the workload will increase on him.”
Another Indian wicket-keeper who has been under the spotlight is former skipper MS Dhoni, who has been the talk of the town despite his nine-month hiatus from the game. While a vast majority believe that the Jharkhand man should not feature in the WT20 should the IPL be cancelled, Kaif has opined otherwise and has stated that he would not judge Dhoni’s future based on just one tournament, and added that ruling him out will be ‘unfair’.
"See people may have eyes on Dhoni that how he is going to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and then there will be talks of the T20 World Cup but my view is different from others. I do not judge Dhoni based on his IPL form. He is a great batsman and he is fit now, he wants to play IPL, do captaincy and is showing his availability. He has a winning mentality and knows how to win games under pressure.
"So, I think ruling him out will be unfair. See a lot of cricket is still left in Dhoni and when a player plays for this long, there are ups and downs in his career. It happens with every cricketer not just Dhoni.”
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