'Out-of-the-box suggestion' - after Ponting, this ex India player also backs Ishan Kishan for WTC final
Ricky Ponting would be pleased he is not the only one to have batted for Ishan Kishan as India's designated wicketkeeper-batter ahead of the marquee World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval from June 7.
The Australian legend had raised eyebrows with his choice of Indian glover ahead of the prestigious clash with his countrymen, but he has now found supporters for the idea.
Backing Ponting's case for Kishan to be given a surprise debut cap is former India middle-order bat and leading commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, who reckons Jharkhand cricketer could be an exciting pick in the mould of the adventurous Rishabh Pant, who is unfortunately sidelined with a car accident.
Manjrekar, too, feels India should drop their backup keeper KS Bharat ahead of the WTC 2021-23 final and bolster the batting side with Ishan Kishan's inclusion. The experienced head cited Kishan's ability to shift the pressure back to the bowler to strengthen his argument and insisted he could be a valuable pick in the UK.
Manjrekar backs Kishan over Bharat
Speaking on Star Sports' show 'Game Plan', Manjrekar put his bets on Ishan Kishan to help India fill the big shoes of Pant after being picked as the backup glover to Bharat, who made his debut in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February-March and impressed only in bits and parts in a challenging series for batting.
"I would like to see him (Kishan) play in that one Test match. I know it's a slightly out-of-the-box suggestion but we have seen KS Bharat and what he can do. He is a steady sort of batter and a decent keeper," Manjrekar said.
The scrutiny on Bharat has been on the rise since his multiple mishaps behind the stumps and inability to come up with any substantial batting effort in BGT 2023, which India won 2-1 to qualify for the WTC clash. Replacing the attacking Pant, the more sedate Andhra player collected just 101 runs over six innings with a best of 44. More than the runs, the batter held a brittle and nervy presence against a tough opposition attack which caused more of a worry on his future at the Test level.
"We are missing Rishabh Pant, who was India's best Test batter for the last two years by a mile. So if you want that Rishabh Pant kind of effect down the order to put pressure back on the opposition, maybe Ishan Kishan is the solution," Manjrekar added.
"Deep Dasgupta, who is a wicketkeeper himself, says that his glovework is quite decent. So it's not like you are making a huge compromise too. So I hope that happens."
Notably, Kishan, who has been around the Indian white-ball set-up for nearly three years since his international debut in 2021, has played 48 first-class matches with 2,985 runs made at an average of 38.76.