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IPL to T20 World Cup: Six wicketkeepers aiming for a spot in India's squad

There's an intense open race in IPL 2024 for the wicketkeeping slots in India's squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

With the deadline for announcing the squads for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 closing in, India have a conundrum in their hands with several players in the reckoning to be the leading wicketkeeper.

Ishan Kishan's break from international cricket combined with Rishabh Pant's promising return to professional cricket and the timely spike in the forms of Sanju Samson and Dinesh Karthik has thrown the race wide open.

Here's a detailed look at the wicketkeeping candidates and their form in the ongoing Indian Premier League season.

Rishabh Pant's sharp catch removes Gerhard Erasmus

Ishan Kishan

Matches - 8, Runs - 192, Average - 24.00, Strike-rate - 168.42, Dismissals - 6

Among wicketkeepers, no one else has played as many T20Is as Ishan Kishan for India since the end of the last edition of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

However, his returns haven't been very impressive — 253 runs in 13 matches at an average of 19.46 and a strike-rate of 111.94.

Kishan has one half-century in seven innings in IPL 2024, and his strike-rate has been impressive, but the lack of consistency despite playing five out of eight matches at the Wankhede, which is usually good for batting, could hurt his chances.

Kishan is also challenging for a spot in the top three, where his competition would include heavyweights like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, and Suryakumar Yadav.

Rishabh Pant

Matches - 8, Runs - 254, Average - 36.28, Strike-rate - 150.29, Dismissals - 11

Rishabh Pant made a resounding return to professional cricket after rehabilitation from the accident he suffered in late 2022. In the ongoing IPL season, Pant has two half-centuries in eight innings for Delhi Capitals and has looked every bit the player he was prior to his major injury.

Pant also showcased excellence behind the stumps in the clash against Gujarat Titans, where he effected four dismissals, including a spectacular stumping.

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His ability to take on pace and spin makes him a compelling candidate for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The fearless approach Pant brings in the middle-order would also set him apart in a batting line-up that is expected to feature several traditionalists.

A minor blemish in Pant's credentials is his record in T20 International cricket. His career thus far, hasn't gone exactly to plan. In 66 T20Is, Pant averages 22.43 and has scored at a rate of 126.37.

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Sanju Samson

Matches - 8, Runs - 314, Average - 62.8, Strike-rate - 152, Dismissals - 7

The Rajasthan Royals skipper has had a cracking IPL season so far, with 314 runs at an average of over 50 and a strike-rate over 150.

With three half-centuries in eight games, he has been a rock in the Rajasthan middle-order, playing a vital role as batter, wicketkeeper and skipper to lead them to the top of the points table.

Samson has had a few chances to nail down his spot in India's T20I squad but hasn't quite grabbed them. His only outing in India's T20I setup in 2024 saw him make a golden duck amidst a top-order collapse against Afghanistan.

Like Kishan, Samson has also been preferred in the top four of the batting line-up, where the competition for spots is quite heavy. However, his promising form in recent IPL seasons and attacking gameplay could see him get the nod for the T20 World Cup.

Jitesh Sharma

Matches - 8, Runs - 128, Average - 16.0, Strike-rate - 125.49, Dismissals - 10

Jitesh Sharma came into this IPL season with a place in Inda's T20I squad secure after his impressive cameos in the blue kit in the shortest format of the game.

Striking at 147.05 in seven innings, Jitesh promised much in his time with the Indian side to warrant a place in the T20 World Cup squad.

However, a below-par showing in the IPL 2024 season could see him go down the pecking order. The Punjab Kings wicketkeeper-batter has struggled to make an impact with the bat this season.

His role as a lower middle-order finisher is one that India would fancy, however, recent form could dent Jitesh's chances when the squad is announced.

The ICC Review | Dinesh Karthik on the art of finishing

Dinesh Karthik

Matches - 8, Runs - 251, Average - 62.75, Strike-rate - 196.09, Dismissals - 1

Nearly two years after his last appearance in India colours, Karthik is in the reckoning for a recall to India's T20I squad for the upcoming mega event on the back of his stellar performances as a finisher for Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

Despite the team struggling for wins in the season, Karthik has flaunted his skillset as a desirable finisher in this format with his strike-rate edging close to 200.

Dinesh Karthik upbeat about T20 World Cup selection

With India also looking for options down the order to finish matches, Karthik's recent form in the IPL could swing things his way when the selection debate heats up.

He recently declared his determination to make it to the final squad by announcing that he would "do everything I can to be on that flight to the World Cup."

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With three scores of over 50 and an average of 75, KL Rahul enjoyed a prosperous World Cup.

KL Rahul

Matches - 7, Runs - 286, Average - 40.85, Strike-rate - 143.00, Dismissals - 9

KL Rahul hasn't played T20Is since the last edition of the T20 World Cup with India moving on to other candidates, but India have preferred experienced candidates in the past for key roles and Rahul has done his chances little harm with a decent showing in IPL 2024.

Rahul's success in the middle-order in ODIs, culminating in a good run in the home Cricket World Cup last year, raised speculation of a possible switch to a similar role in T20s, but he has opened in all games so far this IPL season for Lucknow Super Giants.

However, with many players in the running for a spot in the top four, Rahul might find it tough to break into the T20 World Cup squad as a top-order batter and wicketkeeper.

(Stats as of 23 April)

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