India wicketkeeper KS Bharat, likely to be the first-choice glovesman for the World Test Championship final against Australia, has said he has got a “lot of insights” about keeping in England from former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the recently-concluded IPL.
Bharat explained how Dhoni sharing his valuable tips could help him if he gets the team management’s nod for the big game at The Oval from Wednesday.
“Recently during the IPL, I had a word with Mahendra,” Bharat told ICC on Monday.
“He (talked about) his experiences keeping in England as well as what would work the best for any wicket-keeper. It was a very good conversation and there were a lot of insights from that,” added Bharat.
He said Dhoni’s situational awareness was simply unmatched.
“It’s the awareness — the best example is MS Dhoni, the awareness he has in keeping is outstanding,” Bharat added.
The 29-year-old Gujarat Titans player also felt that his job requires a lot of “intent” and one needs to be really passionate to do the “thankless job”.
“You need intent and passion to be a keeper, because keeping is a thankless job.” While the debate continues on who between Bharat and Ishan Kishan should be in the XI for the WTC final, the former is the frontrunner given his experience of playing four Tests.
Bharat, who is in the squad as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant is recovering from a horrific car crash and his back-up KL Rahul is recuperating from a surgery on his right thigh, added that keeping brings “challenges” which have to be embraced.
“You keep 90 overs in a Test day and you have to be concentrating ball by ball, so you have to accept the challenges and embrace it and be really passionate about contributing to the team,” added Bharat.
Ahead of the contest for Test supremacy, Bharat’s place in the side is one big selection dilemma being faced by the Rohit Sharma-led India. He has played just four Tests — all against Australia recently at home during the Border Gavaskar series.
Though he has performed admirably behind the stumps, his showing with the bat has been dismal — he had a top score of 44 in six innings.
However, Bharat’s domestic experience of 90 first-class games could tilt the scale in his favour.
Kishan, on the other hand, is yet to make his Test debut and has 48 first-class appearances. However, the young wicketkeeper has accomplished more with the bat than Bharat, having scored an ODI double-century against Bangladesh in Chattogram late last year.
To add to that, Kishan scored 454 runs for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2023. The left-handed batter also brings variety in an otherwise right-hand dominant batting line-up.