3 reasons why KS Bharat deserves a slot in the playing XI at Edgbaston Test - Sportskeeda

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KS Bharat's name has been doing the rounds for a while now. The wicketkeeper-batter has impressed many with his gritty knocks in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Playing in his debut IPL season for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2021, Bharat grabbed the headlines with his 52-ball 78 against the Delhi Capitals. Chasing 166, RCB were reeling at 55/3 when he decided to take charge. Along with Glenn Maxwell, he made sure to seal the deal for his team.

Although his batting remains largely untested overseas, KS Bharat received a call-up to the Indian squad for the final Test against England as the second-choice wicketkeeper.

The Men in Blue are 2-1 up in the series and will hope to win the series. But given that there is no dearth of good batters in the squad, will the Andhra cricketer be able to make his Test debut?

On that note, here are three reasons why Bharat deserves a slot in the playing XI.

#1. Good outing in the warm-up match

Team India faced Leicestershire in a four-day warm-up match last week. Despite the match ending in a draw, the visitors left no stone unturned to get aclimatized with the English conditions.

The team management assessed all possible combinations during the match. As many as 17 players featured in the game, with KS Bharat being one of them. The wicketkeeper-batter looked in sublime touch as he remained unbeaten on 70 at the end of India's first innings.

Incidentally, he was also the top scorer for his side and the only batter to register a half-century in the first innings.

He showed great intent and was instrumental in getting his side to a respectable score of 246/8. Alongside his batting, Bharat was equally impressive with his keeping skills. With Rishabh Pant opting to keep wickets for Leicestershire, the Andhra Pradesh cricketer donned the keeping gloves for the Men in Blue and accounted for quite a few dismissals.

#2. His immaculate glovework

KS Bharat's near-perfect skill behind the stumps is another reason why he should feature in the playing XI against England. As mentioned earlier, he had a field day at the Uptonsteel County Ground against Leicestershire, where he took four catches and effected two stumpings.

This isn't the first time he has shown promise with the gloves. He took up the responsibility of keeping wickets in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur last year. With Wriddhiman Saha not donning the gloves due to a stiff neck, Bharat stepped up and did a fine job.

Moments after taking the field, he took a sharp catch off Ravinchandran Ashwin's bowling to dismiss Will Young, thus depriving the New Zealand batter of his maiden Test ton. Overall, he was a busy face behind the stumps throughout Day 3, taking two catches and stumping out Tom Latham off Axar Patel's bowling.

Although Rishabh Pant has been India's first-choice wicketkeeper for a while now, he has been inconsistent as far as keeping is concerned. With KS Bharat showing promise during the warm-up game, the management could play him as the wicketkeeper and opt for Pant as a batter.

#3. KS Bharat's ability to open the batting

With skipper Rohit Sharma doubtful for the Test match at Edgbaston, the team management will need someone to open the batting with Shubman Gill. And who better for the role than KS Bharat!

Bharat opened the batting for the Men in Blue in the second innings against Leicestershire and scored 43 runs off 98 balls. Along with Gill, he strung a 62-run partnership before the former departed in the 14th over. He struck seven boundaries in that innings and showed remarkable resilience for an uncapped player.

Although Mayank Agarwal has been flown in as a cover for Sharma, he hasn't been successful of late. In the wake of the management's search for an in-form opener, KS Bharat should fit the bill perfectly as the second opener alongside Gill.

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