After India's first wicket-keeping choice Rishabh Pant sustained a concussion during the first ODI against Australia and was rested, the team management handed the gloves to KL Rahul. The young Karnataka-lad who has been behind the wicket few times for his State and IPL side, proved to be efficient behind the stumps, as even in the second ODI, he effected a lightning-fast stumping. Post his efficiency with the gloves and flexible batting position, Rahul drew comparisons with 'The Indian Wall' Rahul Dravid.
However, former India opener Aakash Chopra crushed the comparisons as he weighed the young lad more than veteran Rahul Dravid when it came to wicketkeeping. Speaking to PTI, Chopra said,
“KL Rahul is a better keeper than what Rahul Dravid was but I would not want him to keep on a regular basis. Keeping takes a toll. He can’t be keeping for 50 overs and then batting higher up the order." The commentator's statements left netizens divided as they fumed over his pick.
Furthermore, Aakash Chopra also reflected upon the team balance and increase in KL Rahul's workload if he was handed the gloves for all matches especially in the 50-over format.
"If somebody who is that good (with the bat) and if he can do another job, it doesn’t mean that he should keep as well. Rahul is too precious a talent for me to slot in as a keeper-batsman. That way, instead of managing his workload, you are increasing his workload," the former Indian opener remarked.
"Once in a while, if he has to keep for the team balance it is okay but in the longer run you have to allow him to score 10000 runs and that won’t happen if he is being asked to keep," he added.
Clearing the air on who will keep wickets in the upcoming T20I series against New Zealand, skipper Virat Kohli said the team will continue with KL Rahul as the wicketkeeper-batsman since his wicketkeeping skills lend massive balance to the side.
"It definitely allows us to play an extra batsman. It is an important factor while choosing the side. You can look at Rahul Dravid's example in the 2003 World Cup, when he started keeping behind the stumps, the balance of the side became a lot better and the side was able to play an extra batsman," Kohli told reporters.