As is mostly the case when non-Asian tour India for Test series, the pitches have made more noise than actual cricket being played. The first two Tests of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series have been won by India well within three days. The pitch in Nagpur and Delhi have received criticism from the Australian cricket fraternity. KS Bharat, India’s wicketkeeper in the series, reckons batting is not impossible if the batters trust their defence.
Bharat creamed 23 off 22 balls after walking in at 88/4 while India were chasing 115. That is nearly 85% of the deficit when he arrived to bat. He was also efficient behind the wickets, taking three catches in the match.
“I enjoyed playing whatever I did in Delhi. It was about keeping it simple and backing your defence. Wickets are not unplayable, just have to back your defence,” Bharat during the press conference on Monday (February 27).
Bharat was out for 6 in the first innings rushing himself into a sweep stroke. Batting at seven, he gloved the ball to the first slip where Steve Smith ran behind to take the catch. In the second innings, he was a lot more methodical in the second innings.
“Rohit bhai told me that I will bat at no 6 in Delhi 2nd innings. The moment Australia were all out, I was ready to bat and contribute. The intent is never a problem, shot selection is critical on these tracks. Runs will come here if the shot selection is right. Trusting defence is key,” Bharat spoke about his innings in Delhi.
The 29-year old has been with the Test side for a while now. He kept wickets in the second Test against New Zealand when Wriddhiman Saha was unavailable due to injury. Now, he is replacing Rishabh Pant in the Test side. However, this time he has earned a Test cap, unlike the previous occasion when he was only a substitute fielder.
"As a player, you always want to play and you always expect the opportunity to come and knock on your door in some way or the other. For me yes I have always prepared myself for any opportunity and I have been practicing for India A and domestic you want to be there you want to play for your country that's the biggest occasion for any player. So yes if any opportunity is there I will take it," he said.
Bharat has also been instrumental in India taking DRS calls in this series. A wicketkeeper is always the best judge of close DRS calls and Bharat’s calm demeanor has helped the side to make the right calls.
“Rohit bhai and myself had a word. He said, ‘you are the best judge, as you stay close to the batsman. So whatever you feel, just give your opinion.
“You, me and the bowler – the three of us will discuss, and we will take a call’. He said, ‘don’t worry about whether it is going to go our way or their way. Just back your instinct – whatever you feel, just put it across’. So the message is clear,” the wicket-keeper batter explained.
Bharat was also asked if India will make any changes to the XI, the prominent one being at the top of the order, replacing KL Rahul with Shubman Gill. “It’s the team management’s call, not mine,” the Andhra cricketer opted to sit on the fence.
The third Test begins on March 1 (Wednesday) in Indore.