With the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup in India less than a year away, there is intense speculation regarding who could keep wickets in the tournament.
With a wide pool of talented and world-class players, Team India face a problem of plenty. There are multiple contenders for this spot.
Some of the star players like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya are almost certainties to make in the final squad if they are injury-free. But there are a few spots in the team which are still up for grabs. One of them is the wicket-keeper's slot.
Contenders for India's wicketkeeping slot in the 2021 T20I World Cup:
India are blessed to have some of the best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the T20I format at the moment. But as this is a specialist position, only one of them will get the chance to don the gloves for the team.
On that note, let's take a look at the potential contenders for the wicketkeeper's slot in the upcoming T20I World Cup.
1) Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant has been the talk of the town after his batting heroics in the recent Test series against England and Australia.
Thanks to his exploits with the bat and his improved glovework, he has made a return to Team India's T20I team in the ongoing five-match series against England.
He is surely the front-runner for the wicket-keeper batsman's slot in Team India's T20I World Cup squad. However, Pant's T20I career has been mediocre to date. He needs to produce one defining knock to definitively stake his claim to that spot.
2) Sanju SamsonSanju Samson
Sanju Samson has performed brilliantly with the bat in the last few editions of the IPL and in domestic cricket.
Based on his consistent performances, he was selected in Team India's T20I squad for the Australia series last year. However, he could not perform well and got dropped from the squad in the subsequent series against England.
He has the ability to hit big sixes and score at a brisk pace in Indian conditions, so he is a contender for the wicketkeeping slot. However, his lack of international exposure might go against him.
It is unlikely Samson will be picked as the main keeper-batsman for Team India in the T20I World Cup. But he could be one of the standbys.
#3 KL Rahul
KL Rahul has been one of the best T20I players for India in a while. He has not only been a prolific run-scorer at the top of the order but has also kept wickets.
In fact, after Pant was dropped because of his poor form, Rahul was India's wicket-keeper batsman in most of the T20Is.
He is definitely a certainty in the squad, but he is unlikely to keep wickets in the tournament. Like Pant, if he is chosen as a keeper batsman, it would allow the team to play an extra bowler or batsman depending on conditions.
#4 Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan made an exceptional T20I debut against England in the ongoing series, scoring a blistering half-century to help India draw parity in the series.
The left-hander has been in tremendous form with the bat in the last few domestic and IPL seasons. That helped him get the nod ahead of the more experienced Sanju Samson.
With Team India embracing a strategy of batting fearlessly in T20Is, Ishan Kishan's batting style makes him a perfect fit in the team. If he stays in good form in the lead-up to the T20I World Cup, he should get selected for the competition.
Even if he doesn't keep wickets, he will provide an attacking left-handed option at the top of the order.