Former Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More has weighed in on the opener’s debate for the Australia series and has vouched for KL Rahul to partner Shikhar Dhawan, despite Mayank Agarwal impressing in the IPL. More further wishes to see India rest Bumrah and Shami alternately ahead of the Tests.
The first ODI between India and Australia will kick-off in just over 15 hours but something that still remains a mystery is Shikhar Dhawan’s opening partner. The absence of Rohit Sharma has opened the door for Mayank Agarwal to partner the Delhite, but KL Rahul having served as a backup opener in ODI cricket for the past 18 months has meant that there is a very good chance of the Karnataka star batting up top. In the pre-match presser, Rahul, who has batted at No.5 in ODIs of late, claimed that he would be willing to bat anywhere from 1 to 6 for the side and thus there is still uncertainty over who will partner veteran Dhawan.
Former Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More has now weighed in on the debate and cast his vote for Rahul, whose importance he feels will be invaluable in the absence of Rohit.
"I am very impressed with Mayank, the way he has come back in T20 and one-day cricket. But when you look at experience in international cricket, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan is my choice (for opening combination),” More told TOI.
Despite Rahul being the ‘designated’ first choice-keeper, the presence of Sanju Samson in the squad means the Karnataka lad could very well play as a specialist batsman. More, however, is against this idea and has claimed that he would wish to see Rahul don the gloves, as it would add better balance to the side. The legendary wicket-keeper was also full of praise for the 28-year-old’s exquisite glovework.
"He is a better wicketkeeper than a fielder for me. Plus, if we play him as a wicketkeeper-batsman, we can include an additional batsman or bowler," said More.
"In one-day cricket, it could be a little bit tougher for KL Rahul, but I think he has managed it very well (in T20s). He has a fantastic technique as a wicketkeeper. He was a wicketkeeper when he started his cricketing career. Rahul has got pretty good hands. So we should not be worried about that.”
More is, however, concerned about the workload that will be imposed on both Shami and Bumrah. The two talismans are slated to play in all three formats and this worries More, who wishes to see the duo get rest. The 58-year-old has suggested the management to rest Bumrah and Shami alternately for the limited-over matches to keep them fresh and raring to go for the all-important Test series.
"The only thing I am worried about is Bumrah. He is going to play one-dayers, T20s and Test matches. I think I will look at resting Bumrah, and also Shami. Preserve more for Test cricket.
"I will prefer to give rest to them in some of the matches, depending on the situation in the series, doesn't matter if I lose also....Go with one guy in one T20 with two young fast bowlers, even (in) one-day cricket. I will not go with both of them, need to rest one of them all the time. Play two matches, give rest, then play two matches.
"We need to give an opportunity to the young fast bowlers (Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar), who can get experience before the next World Cup."