Former India cricketer VVS Laxman had been told about wicketkeeper KS Bharat’s skills by the current chief coach Rahul Dravid a long time back, who had said that the 28-year-old’s “wicket-keeping skills were only next to Wriddhiman Saha”.
Bharat, India’s second wicketkeeper-batter in the Test squad against New Zealand, had to take up wicket-keeping duties on day three of the first Test at the Green Park Stadium after first-choice wicketkeeper Saha couldn’t take the field due to neck stiffness.
On Saturday, Bharat came up with a superb performance, taking two catches and effecting a stumping to help India restrict New Zealand to 296 and take a 49-run lead.
“I still remember Rahul Dravid raving about KS Bharat’s wicketkeeping skills. He told me that Bharat has good keeping skills, next only to Wriddhiman Saha in Indian cricket,” Laxman told Star Sports.
Laxman added that Bharat has repaid the faith shown by the selectors and coach Dravid. “It’s good to see him repaying the faith the selectors and the head coach. I think he has justified the confidence showed in him by the selectors and the coach,” he said.
The wicketkeeper-batter has done remarkably well in domestic cricket, scoring 4283 runs in 78 First-Class games with a highest of 308 and an average of 37.24, including nine tons and 23 half-centuries.
“In these quality-spin conditions, if you don’t have a reliable wicketkeeper then you’re going to miss a lot of chances. What we saw (on Saturday) was great technique and great presence of mind, he didn’t panic at all for someone who has come into this team recently and got to play only because Saha was injured. Fantastic experience for Bharat, this will give him a lot of confidence going forward in his career,” Laxman added.