Kishan appeared to be the primary choice for wicketkeeping duties, not only due to his impressive record of four fifties in his last five one-day innings but also for the left-handed batting dimension he adds to a lineup dominated by right-handers.
Rahul’s first two innings since recovering from a thigh injury have solidified his position in the reckoning, creating a delightful selection conundrum, as anticipated by chief selector Ajit Agarkar when both players were included in the World Cup squad.
Rohit Sharma enters 10000-run club and other records India made in just two Asia Cup matches
Rahul had just five minutes to prepare for the high-stakes Asia Cup match against Pakistan, following Shreyas Iyer’s last-minute withdrawal due to a back spasm. However, in his comeback match, he smashed an unbeaten 111 and orchestrated an outstanding partnership with fellow centurion Virat Kohli, setting the stage for India’s comprehensive victory against their arch-rivals.
The elegant right-hander also played a pivotal role in another significant partnership, this time with Kishan, during the low-scoring encounter against hosts Sri Lanka on Tuesday, which India won by 41 runs. Additionally, Rahul took up wicketkeeping duties for a significant portion of both the Pakistan and Sri Lankan innings, showcasing his versatility in the team.
“I have been keeping wicket for a long time, more than two years now actually,” Rahul told reporters, adding that he was comfortable with the dual role.
“So it’s not new for me, and the team management has told me that this would be my role in the squad – to play in the middle order and keep wicket.”
Primarily a versatile batter comfortable in any position in the top and middle order, Rahul said he had honed his keeping skills during his rehabilitation from injury.
“During my recovery, I worked on both aspects,” the 31-year-old said.
“Earlier, I’d work mostly on my batting. But this time I had enough time to work on my keeping.
“Hopefully I can do both the roles well.”
India, who have reached the Asia Cup final, will begin their bid for a third ODI World Cup title against Australia in Chennai on Oct. 8.