KS Bharat has been called up by India hours before their second ODI against Australia in Rajkot as an injury cover for wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.
Pant has been ruled out of the second ODI after being diagnosed with concussion. He was hit on the helmet after top-edging a short delivery from Pat Cummins that also resulted in his dismissal.
The 22-year-old Pant didn’t take the field for the rest of the match with KL Rahul handling the wicketkeeping duties. He didn’t leave Mumbai with the India squad for Rajkot and was kept under observation.
However, later he was flown to National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for rehabilitation even though his scan came clear. He is expected to be fit and back for the third and final ODI to be played on January 20.
Andhra wicketkeeper Bharat has an impressive domestic record having scored 4143 runs at 37.66 in 74 first-class matches to go with 281 dismissals. In 51 List A matches, he has 1351 runs at 28.14 and has effected 65 dismissals.
He has been called up as Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are in New Zealand as part of India A’s squad.
“With Sanju Samson & Ishan Kishan being a part of the India A side in New Zealand, the selection committee decided to name K S Bharat as back-up wicket-keeper,” BCCI said in a media release. “The call was taken after Rishabh Pant flew to Bengaluru to undergo his rehabilitation protocol in the National Cricket Academy. The wicket-keeper batsman was hit on the helmet while batting in the 1st ODI in Mumbai and was ruled out of the 2nd ODI in Rajkot. His recovery is being monitored by the NCA and a call on his availability for the final ODI in Bengaluru will be taken accordingly.”
India lost the series opening first ODI played at the Wankhede by 10 wickets after being bowled out for 255 in 49.1 overs. Australia openers David Warner and Aaron Finch slammed unbeaten centuries to overhaul the target in 37.4 overs handing the tourists a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Australia will be eyeing a second successive bilateral ODI series win against India in as many years when they square off at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium on Friday.