KS Bharat couldn’t have asked for a better source of advice ahead of potentially playing his first ever Test in English conditions in the upcoming World Test Championship Final.
The Indian wicket-keeper revealed to the ICC that he received some tips from none other than Indian legend MS Dhoni ahead of the match against Australia at The Oval, with MS taking time out of captaining Chennai Super Kings to the Indian Premier League (IPL) title to speak with Bharat.
“Recently during the IPL I had a word with Mahendra,” Bharat told the ICC in an interview with Sanjana Ganesan at The Oval.
“He (talked about) his experiences keeping in England as well as what would work the best for any wicket-keeper.
“It was a very good conversation and there were a lot of insights from that.”
Receiving advice from Dhoni was particularly impactful given that Bharat named the veteran when asked what makes a good wicket-keeper.
“It’s the awareness – the best example is MS Dhoni, the awareness he has in keeping is outstanding," Bharat added.
“You need intent and passion to be a keeper, because keeping is a thankless job. You keep 90 overs in a Test day and you have to be concentrating ball by ball, so you have to accept the challenges and embrace it and be really passionate about contributing to the team.”
Bharat’s place in the XI is one of the big selection decisions facing India ahead of the first day’s play on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old has played just four Tests for India, all against Australia in India earlier this year after stepping in to replace the injured Rishabh Pant.
Bharat’s quality with the gloves merited his spot in the side, but his return with the bat was disappointing in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, as he registered a top score of 44 in six innings with the bat.
India may instead be tempted to go with the match-winning potential of Ishan Kishan in the side for the one-off WTC23 Final.
Kishan is the other wicket-keeping option in the India squad, and arrived in England on the back of a fine IPL campaign that saw him hit 454 runs in 16 innings for Mumbai Indians.
But the youngster has yet to feature for India in the longer format of the game, so would be making his debut in the showpiece event were he to get the call.
The World Test Championship Final starts this Wednesday, with a packed crowd expected at the iconic south London venue.
India will be hoping to go one better than the last time they travelled to England for the WTC Final back in 2021, when they were beaten to the title by New Zealand.