Former Indian cricketers Mohammed Kaif and Gautam Gambhir engaged in a heated discussion over Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul about who is the ideal candidate for the No. 5 batting position following latter's impressive 82-run knock against Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
During the discussion on Star Sports, Kaif expressed the opinion that, despite Ishan's impressive half-century against Pakistan, he should make room for KL Rahul in the lineup. In contrast, Gambhir argued that current form holds greater significance than a player's reputation or name.
"Kl Rahul is a proven match-winner. At No. 5, his numbers are fabulous. So Rahul Dravid knows, there is that clarity in his mind that…remember, Mohammed Shami was dropped today. So, when KL Rahul is fit again, he will be playing in the XI and Ishan Kishan will have to wait for his next opportunity,” said Kaid.
"Ishan is doing all that he needs. He scored in that series against West Indies…his graph is only going up and is getting better by the day. He has a double century to his name as well. He has class and talent but he cannot replace Rahul yet because the latter is nit playing because of bad form, but due to an injury," he added.
Gambhir, however, expressed his disapproval over Kaif’s views and asked "To win the World Cup, name is more important or form?"
"Had Kohli or Rohit made those four consecutive fifties, would you have said the same thing about KL Rahul? When you are preparing to win a World Cup, you don't look at a name, you look at the form of a player that could win you the trophy," Gambhir said.
Kishan displayed his brilliance by scoring 82 runs from 81 balls and played a crucial role in a fifth-wicket partnership of 138 with Hardik Pandya, who contributed 87 runs from 90 balls.
This stellar performance helped India recover from a precarious position of 66/4 to post a competitive total of 266. Unfortunately, the match ended without a result as Pakistan did not get an opportunity to bat due to rain in Pallekele on Saturday.
Gambhir further expressed the view that Ishan has unquestionably made significant strides to position himself as the frontrunner for one of the World Cup spots.
"Ishan has done everything possible to become the frontrunner. We are only making this argument because he hasn’t played as many international matches as Rahul," said Gambhir.
"Yes Rahul is a proven player at No. 5 but for Ishan, who has never batted at that position comes in and score 82 against a bowling attack like Pakistan under that pressure, then you cannot compare the two at all," the 41-year-old concluded.