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Sri Lanka vs India: KL Rahul makes first class and international wicketkeeping debut

34.76K   //    23 Aug 2015, 17:16 IST
KL Rahul (in helmet) exults as Kaushal Silva is dismissed in the 2nd innings

KL Rahul kept wickets for India in the tea session of Day 4 in the ongoing 2nd Test against Sri Lanka, with primary keeper Wriddhiman Saha having picked up a hamstring strain.

Saha was seen limping while taking a run in India’s 2nd innings, in which he scored an unbeaten 13 off 21 balls before the innings was declared at 325/8. Rahul, who has some prior experience of keeping, donned the gloves and pads for the 21 overs that Sri Lanka faced after tea.

TV commentators threw up the names of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane as possible candidates who could step into Saha’s shoes, but all doubts were laid to rest when Rahul was seen practising catches with pads on in the innings break, as Sri Lanka prepared to attempt to chase down the 4th innings target of 413.

Cheteshwar Pujara was brought on as a substitute outfield fielder in place of Saha. It is being thought that Saha is not being fielded in fears of aggravating what remains at this stage only a niggle. He even recovered to come out to bat a second time during India’s batting innings.

Sri Lanka finished Day 4 at 72/2, 341 runs short of the target. India are on course to level the 3-match series on the final day.

Wicketkeeping prowess of the Rahuls

Rahul has kept wickets previously in 4 List-A matches for Karnataka and in 4 IPL matches, apart from junior level matches. He had no experience of keeping to the red ball, however. He did a good job in the time that he was required, raising questions whether he can be played as India’s primary keeper in the future.

As a specialist batsman donning the keeper’s gloves in the interest of the India team, KL Rahul finds a precedent in his cricket idol and India legend Rahul Dravid. Dravid had kept India’s wickets in the hugely successful 2003 World Cup, in the team’s interest of having an extra batsman.

The list of similarities between the two namesakes is endless – both Rahuls also played for the same cricket club in Bangalore.

In the same session that one of the greatest ever wicketkeeper-batsmen walked out dismissed one last time for Sri Lanka, might India have found the latest great of that specimen?

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