Had Rohit or Virat scored would you have debated KL’s inclusion? asks Gambhir

Mumbai, Sep 3 (PTI) Ishan Kishan has “done everything” to earn a place ahead of KL Rahul for the World Cup and the Karnataka batter would not even have been considered if he was competing with Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli, says Gautam Gambhir.

Kishan scored a crucial 82 to arrest India’s slide in their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan on Saturday, a game which was washed out but witnessed the wicketkeeper-batter recording his fourth consecutive ODI fifty.

At No 5, Kishan’s knock against Pakistan not only rescued India but made him a firm favourite for the wicketkeeper-batter position ahead of Rahul, who is missing the starting stages of the continental tournament due to an injury.

Gambhir said India should prefer “form over name” for the World Cup with the host country’s squad expected to be announced by Tuesday.

“Tell me something, what is more important to win a championship — name or form? If Rohit (Sharma) or Virat (Kohli) had scored something similar (four consecutive fifties), would you still say that KL Rahul would replace them?” Gambhir told Disney-Hotstar.

“The point is, when you’re gearing up to win the World Cup, you don’t see the name, you judge by their form. You choose the player who can perform and win you the World Cup,” Gambhir said.

The 2007 and 2011 World Cup winner Gambhir said Kishan has done enough to earn a spot in the Indian side.

“I feel Ishan Kishan has done everything he needs to do to be a frontrunner,” he said.

“Just because he is Ishan Kishan and hasn’t played a lot of international cricket, you’re saying that KL Rahul should play before him,” he said.

“But if Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma were in place of Ishan Kishan, would KL Rahul be able to replace them? The answer is ‘no’,” Gambhir added.

Gambhir emphasised on having Kishan ahead of Rahul at No 5, saying their selections could have been debated if the former’s runs against Pakistan had come at the top of the order.

“I understand if you say that there’s a player at No 5 who is a proven performer. But there is a player who has played at No 5 for the first time, scored a quality 82 runs against Pakistan under immense pressure, you cannot compare the two,” Gambhir said.

“If Ishan Kishan had opened and scored an 82, and you had said KL Rahul should play in the middle order and Ishan Kishan should open, we could’ve debated it,” he said.

“But Ishan Kishan has scored runs in the middle order at the fifth position which brings me to my point that to win a World Cup, form is important and not name,” he added.

Source: PTI News


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