"Traffic jam at the top": Irfan Pathan identifies India star who can be sacrificed in T20 WC squad
In India's 17-member squad for the current three-match T20I series against South Africa, Jitesh Sharma and Ishan Kishan serve as the two wicketkeeper-batters. Unfortunately, neither had the opportunity to state their case in the first game on Sunday (December 10), which was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.
However, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan has chosen Jitesh Sharma over Ishan Kishan as his preferred wicketkeeper-batter for India's T20 World Cup squad. His rationale is based on the absence of an available opening position, where Kishan excels.
When discussing the choice between the two on Star Sports, Pathan expressed his preference for Jitesh. He argued that Kishan needs to acclimate to facing the new ball before confronting spinners.
"I will play Jitesh hands down. I have maintained from earlier that if you have to play Ishan, whether it is ODIs or T20Is, you have to play him at the top, and there is a traffic jam at the top."
Jitesh Sharma has looked in sublime form of late
Kishan's T20I batting record shows only one instance of him batting below No. 3, scoring an unbeaten 20 against Sri Lanka in July 2021. While he has predominantly opened in 27 out of 32 innings, he might not secure that position given the competition from Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
On the flip side, Jitesh has exhibited his prowess by scoring 64 runs at an impressive strike rate of 164.10 in three T20I innings.
Furthermore, he delivered a noteworthy performance for the Punjab Kings in IPL 2023, amassing 309 runs at an excellent strike rate of 156.06 in 14 innings.