Irfan Pathan delivered a firm message on the Ishan Kishan vs KL Rahul debate for the ODI World Cup 2023.
Can both KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan feature in the same XI for the Indian team? Though there are some former cricketers who feel that can be the case, ex-India all-rounder Irfan Pathan isn’t on board with the idea. For Irfan, Rahul and Ishan can only feature in the same XI together if a player in the top-order is injured. Else, only one of them can get into the team as they are competing for the same spot. As there remain those who feel Ishan should be preferred over Rahul owing to his exemplary form, Irfan has cautioned the Indian team management against overlooking the Karnataka batter’s numbers.
“Both cannot have a place in the XI. Both can only play if someone gets injured in the top order, which we don’t want, or loses his form completely. I have only one thing to say about the ongoing debate,” Pathan said in a chat on Star Sports.
“Ishan Kishan scored runs against Pakistan at No. 5, which is not his position. God forbid if he gets out in the next match, will we say he is not in form? No, that’s not the case. We forget very quickly. We should never forget KL Rahul’s numbers for the last two years and Ishan Kishan has played one innings,” he further explained.
Irfan feels ‘long-term’ thinking should be the way forward for the Indian team as ‘short-term’ ideas will create stability issues in the squad.
“You shouldn’t have short-term memory. You should have long-term thinking and I feel the thinking with which the management is going is absolutely correct because if you keep going with short-term memory, you will have a lot of difficulty in making the team, stabilizing it, and giving confidence to the guys,” Pathan added.
For Pathan Rahul should be preferred over Ishan in the initial phase of the ODI World Cup. In a situation where Rahul fails to deliver, the left-handed batter should replace him and be persisted with for the remainder of the campaign.
“You just have to keep in mind that if KL Rahul comes and plays and doesn’t get his form, then you can say that he didn’t regain his form after injury and you can give Ishan Kishan the entire World Cup. However, as soon as KL Rahul comes, he will play,” Pathan concluded.
Considering the form Ishan has been in of late, it would be tough for the Indian team to decide between him and Rahul.