With scores of 8, 6, 23*, 17 and 3, Bharat has mere 57 runs in the five innings and Rishabh Pant’s replacement has been far away from his best with the bat. Bharat has been good behind the stumps but his batting certainly not been beneficial to team’s cause which has already been struggling on difficult tracks.
As a relatively better batting track awaits India and Australia after playing on dust bowls in Nagpur, Delhi and Indore, the question now is will the team management give Bharat another chance or will dashing Jharkhand keeper-batter Ishan Kishan get a game?
On Tuesday, head coach Rahul Dravid did spend a lot of time with Kishan as he got two separate hits at the nets.
India’s net sessions haven’t always thrown up a proper picture of what team management has in mind and on Tuesday. Bharat was rested from the optional session but is likely to turn up for the training session on Wednesday.
The Motera track has a firm look to it and the even bounce means that Kishan’s attacking style of batting can be preferred by the team.
The effect of Rishabh Pant’s horrific accident has never been felt as much as it has been during the series where India has missed a counter-attacking batter in the middle-order who could take the game away in one session.
Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are all-rounders and more than capable of playing match-winning knocks but certainly aren’t players with x-factor who can change the game in a single session.
Suryakumar Yadav was tried in Nagpur but that was due to the absence of Shreyas Iyer.
The only factor that can go against Kishan is the presence of two off-spinners in the Australian ranks. Kishan has had problems against deliveries that turn away but that has happened in white ball cricket where he has to attack straightaway.
The Indian team management also needs to keep in mind that if India play the WTC final against Australia at the Oval, chances of which are high, Bharat could well be a walking wicket against the pace trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.
With no chance of Pant’s recovery in the near future, Kishan is a way better option and Motera is perhaps the best place to check him out and see if he has the requisite temperament, if not the flawless technique, to play the traditional format.
(With inputs from PTI)