Srikar Bharat: Special Hunder Against Australia A
India is in dire need of a world class wicket-keeper. Dinesh Karthik failed in the first three Test matches against England, scoring only 21 runs in four innings. His replacement, Rishabh Pant has not fared much better. While at times he has looked comfortable with the bat, hitting a six to get off the mark in his debut Test, his glovework is a cause for concern. Pant gave away over 50 byes in three Test matches and his keeping technique has come under scrutiny. So, who do India turn to next?
Enter Srikar Bharat. A consistent Ranji Trophy player for Andhra over the past few years, Bharat first stole the headlines when he hit a sublime triple-hundred against Goa. By doing so, Srikar Bharat became the first ever Indian wicket-keeper batsman to score a triple-hundred in the Ranji Trophy. This was a record that Bharat achieved when he was just 21.
Now, Srikar Bharat once again stole the headlines with a hundred against Australia A. Coming in at 259-4, Bharat played a perfect Test match innings. He was up against a strong Australian bowling unit, including Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson and Mitchell Marsh. Bharat ended up scoring 106 (186). This helped to take India A to 505, handing his side a lead of 159. These proved to be crucial runs, as it eventually set up a huge win for his side.
These runs have come at a crucial time. Bharat has certainly put himself in contention to be included in India’s squad for the Test series against the West Indies. Could he be India’s next wicket-keeper? It really depends on how much faith the Indian management have in Pant. Judging by the innings he has played so far, it seems as if he is a two-dimensional player. Either aggressive or he retreats into his shell. He is yet to find the right balance between the two. If he is overlooked, Bharat could be waiting in the wings to take his place.