It is all but certain that KL Rahul would be included in India’s playing XI as a wicket-keeper for the first Test against South Africa. However, former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has qualms about this decision by the management in the long-term view.

The 2-Test series kick starts on December 26 in Centurion, the place where KL Rahul scored a brilliant match-winning century on the 2021/22 tour,

With Ishan Kishan withdrawing from the Test series due to the reported “mental fatigue”, KL Rahul, who was also mentioned as a wicket-keeper by the BCCI in the squad announced, is in line to make his Test comeback. KS Bharat has been added to the squad as Kishan’s replacement.

KL Rahul has never kept wicket in a Test match. And this would only be the second time in his career that Rahul starts a first-class game as a designated wicketkeeper. Rahul will shift to the middle-order role at number 6/7.

Real challenge for wicketkeeper KL Rahul will be against England on rank turners: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir, who has worked with KL Rahul at Lucknow Super Giants, doesn’t completely agree with this move by the management to play Rahul as the wicket-keeper in these two Tests. Gambhir asserted that keeping in Indian conditions on turning pitches against England across 5 Test matches would be a bigger challenge for Rahul.

Speaking with Star Sports, Gambhir said: “I hope this is not a one-off situation because that would be unfair. His real challenge will not be wicketkeeping in South Africa, but on rank turners, in that five Test match series against England when Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar will be bowling. No challenge is bigger than that.

For the England Test series, India are likely to include KS Bharat in the XI, who is a better keeper to spinners than Rahul. But since KS Bharat has not done well as a batsman, in the absence of Pant, Gambhir reckoned, Rahul is the best option available.

“If you are looking at these two Test matches, then I would rather not play him because I would look at long-term plans, and India don’t have a long-term plan right now because you only have KS Bharat and Rahul now. But probably it is the right way of going about things in allowing KL Rahul do the job until Rishabh Pant returns,” Gambhir aded.

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