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India vs New Zealand, 2nd Test: Opportunity may knock for KS Bharat | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Will KS Bharat, who did well behind the stumps while substituting for Wriddhiman Saha in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, make his debut in the second Test, which begins at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday?
While Saha overcame a stiff neck to score a fighting half-century (61 not out) in the second innings at Green Park, there’s still uncertainty over his fitness and availability for the second Test.
On Wednesday, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said that the Indian team management is yet to take a call on the availability of Saha. “We will take a call closer to the game. Physios are in constant touch with (India coach) Rahul (Dravid) and (India captain) Virat (Kohli).

“Closer to the game, we can take a call on what condition he is in. What Saha did in the last game was a fabulous effort. It was painful to bat, but he raised his hands and delivered for the team,” Mhambrey told reporters.
There’s a school of thought which believes that India can overcome all their selection headaches for this game by giving a Test debut to KS Bharat by sending him as an opener with Shubman Gill. Bharat has opened for Andhra in the Ranji Trophy in the past, and has scored 4283 runs in 78 first-class games @ 37.24, with nine hundreds and 23 fifties, and even a triple hundred (308) under his belt.
This move will allow India to fit in all their middle-order batsmen – the struggling Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, skipper Virat Kohli a n d Kanpur centurion Shreyas Iyer – leaving the hard decision to drop Pujara or Rahane to another day. However, to expect Bharat to open in his very first Test, against the likes of Tim Southee, Kylie Jamieson and perhaps Neil Wagner, would be asking him to go through a ‘baptism’ by fire.
“It’s not a new thing to him. He’s actually a natural, specialist opener. He got his triple hundred for Andhra while opening the innings. He’s scored 90% of his runs as an opener. Given an opportunity, he can open for India,” former India chief selector and ex-stumper MSK Prasad told TOI on Wednesday. Prasad, who played six Tests for India, pointed out that Bharat had “scored three hundreds in days’ cricket” for India A too.
Like everyone, Prasad, who has observed Bharat’s growth closely both at Andhra and as a chairman of the national selection committee, was impressed by the 28-year-old’s neat glove-work, barring the odd mistake, in Kanpur.
“His ‘keeping was really good in the first Test. It’s not easy to keep wickets in Kanpur as the ball stays low and we have three kinds of spinners. If he gets the chance he’ll grab it,” Prasad said.

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