Irfan Pathan’s mic drop statement on Rahul vs Ishan Kishan

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Will Ishan Kishan maintain his spot in the Indian XI despite KL Rahul’s return? India’s selection panel, led by Ajit Agarkar, faces a significant dilemma as the Super Four stage of the ongoing Asia Cup 2023 approaches. Following India’s qualification for the latter stages of the competition, the selection committee unveiled the squad for the ICC World Cup 2023.

During the squad announcement for the ICC World Cup, chief selector Agarkar acknowledged that Rahul’s inclusion has provided India with the “best balance” in their squad. Despite Rahul’s last appearance for India being in March, Agarkar expressed satisfaction with the ex-vice-captain’s fitness levels, which he achieved through training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Karnataka. Agarkar revealed that Rahul had batted for approximately 50 overs and also kept wickets for a similar duration during practice games at the NCA.

The question arises: can India field a playing XI that includes both Kishan and Rahul? Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan expressed his reservations during a discussion on Star Sports. “Both cannot find a place in the XI. They can only play if someone in the top order gets injured, which we hope doesn’t happen, or if someone loses form completely. Regarding this ongoing debate, I have one thing to say,” Pathan remarked.

“Ishan Kishan scored runs against Pakistan at No. 5, which is not his usual position. God forbid if he doesn’t perform in the next match, will we conclude that he’s out of form? No, that’s not the case. We tend to forget quickly. We should not forget KL Rahul’s performance over the last two years, while Ishan Kishan has played just one innings,” he continued.

Rahul had already missed the group stage of the Asia Cup due to an injury. His return was delayed after he picked up a minor injury in the lead-up to the tournament. This delay allowed Kishan to present a strong case for his inclusion. Kishan was placed in the middle order when India faced Pakistan in the Asia Cup and delivered an impressive knock of 82 against Babar Azam’s team, significantly enhancing his standing in the tournament.

Pathan emphasized the importance of long-term thinking over short-term memory. “We should not rely on short-term memory but instead have a long-term perspective. I believe the management’s approach is absolutely correct because sticking with short-term memory can make team selection, stability, and player confidence quite challenging,” Pathan added.

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