Highlights

Former India player Farokh Engineer has little doubt that in Test cricket India should persist with a specialist wicketkeeper KS Bharat in this case and urged him to work on his technique.

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KL Rahul ‘worth platinum’ but KS Bharat must make minor changes as wicketkeeper: Farokh Engineer

Former India player Farokh Engineer has little doubt that in Test cricket India should persist with a specialist wicketkeeper KS Bharat in this case and urged him to work on his technique.

KL Rahul ‘worth platinum’ but KS Bharat must make minor changes as wicketkeeper: Farokh Engineer

KL Rahul is ‘worth in platinum’ for the dual role of wicketkeeper-batsman, but former India player Farokh Engineer has little doubt that in Test cricket India should persist with a specialist wicketkeeper KS Bharat in this case and urged him to work on his technique.

Rahul, who is nursing a quadriceps injury, had kept wickets in the away two-Test series against South Africa but opted to field Bharat for that role in the ongoing five-match Test series against England.

“For a One-Day or T20 game, you could play with a batsman-keeper and get away with it. You know, like KL Rahul. He has improved over the years. He kept wickets quite well. He is not a brilliant wicketkeeper. But what a great, brilliant batsman he is,” Engineer, a former wicketkeeper batter himself, said during an interaction after his felicitation here at the Bombay Gymkhana.

“He is worth his weight in platinum to be in the side and keep wickets,” said the 85-year-old.

“But (for Tests) You got to have your best wicketkeeper. You got to have wicketkeeper-batsman instead of a batsman-wicketkeeper. Of course, everyone is required to bat these days. In the opinion of selectors, Bharat is a better ‘keeper, is he?” asked Engineer.

However, Engineer said there were a few areas to work on for Bharat.

“There are a few areas that I can (think of) straightaway. But you don't like to tell them, in case they think you are trying to be big-headed,” he said.

“If he just rises slowly, I would prefer that. Once you get up quickly, it is difficult to go down again and you waste that fraction of a second. But if you get up gradually with the ball, then you are… things have got to be ironed out. But (then) he is the best around," he added.

Engineer said it remains to be seen how Rishabh Pant would be able to pick up keeping when he returns but added that the left-hander has the potential to play as a specialist batter.

“(I was) so sad to hear about Rishabh’s accident. I hope that he’s recovered now. I’m not sure (that) he’ll be able to ‘keep wickets, because once you lose your sharpness, the sixth sense... but his batting is so good, he can be a match-winner for India with the bat,” he said.

“He has so much confidence as a batsman. Like me, he thinks that spinners shouldn’t exist,” Engineer added.

While predicting India as the winner of the series against England by a 3-2 margin, Engineer warned the hosts to guard against complacency.

“I reckon India will win 3-2. But don't underestimate England. They are a good side. Had they won the toss and decided to bat, who knows? We might have been in a predicament. They might have been leading by 150,” he said.

“When we get a chance, we got to grab it with both hands. Like in Hyderabad, we should have got 600. All our batsmen got too complacent, thinking that we will be able to dismiss them because the ball was turning.

“Let's not be complacent. After winning this Test, put the screws down,” said Engineer, who was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by the BCCI recently.

Engineer lauds Anderson

Engineer, who played 46 Tests and five ODIs for India, was among the best overseas players to have appeared for Lancashire in English county cricket.

So, it was natural for Engineer to shower praise on another Lancastrian, the 41-year-old pacer James Anderson.

Engineer credited Anderson’s fitness for his longevity.

“He is absolutely phenomenal. He is my Lancashire boy. A few years ago when he was not in the England team, not even in the Lancashire team, and he was sitting next to me at (Andrew) Freddie Flintoff's son's christening, we had a word,” he said.

“I said, ‘You are a fantastic swing bowler, you will always, always come good’. He always remembers that.” “In England, (with) the conditions and all that, he swings the ball both ways. He uses his head. He is a fantastic bowler. He has been a great, great Lancastrian.” “He is physically fit. Fitness is the most important thing for a fast bowler. He is always bowling within himself,” he said.

Engineer said Anderson, who has 693 wickets from 184 Tests, will be remembered as one of the true fast-bowling greats.

“He is right up there with the greatest of fast bowlers. To get to that age and swing the ball both ways and to trouble the batsmen, and to get so many wickets on our Indian pitches, is a credit. He is a real credit to England,” Engineer signed off.

Virat Kohli's return for England Tests remains doubtful; KL Rahul likely to get fit for Rajkot Test


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