Former India coach Ravi Shastri has backed KL Rahul to seal his place as a wicketkeeper-batter for the World Test Championship final at The Oval in June, saying his presence will strengthen the team's batting lineup.
Rahul has a good record in England but he was dropped from the playing XI after the first two Tests against Australia at home due to poor form.
The 30-year-old from Karnataka, however, made an impressive return, slamming a match-winning 75 not out in the first ODI against Australia in Mumbai on Friday night.
Shastri feels Rahul can play as a wicket-keeper in the WTC final, especially after KS Bharat couldn't produce the goods in the absence of an indisposed Rishabh Pant.
"He (KL) has really done well to keep the selectors interested ahead of the WTC final," Shastri told Star Sports.
"Two things, one for the ODI series when Rohit Sharma returns and the other for the WTC final... India can bolster their batting if Rahul can keep wickets.
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"Rahul can bat in the middle-order -- No. 5 or 6. In England, you have to generally keep wickets from far behind. You don't have to keep up to the spinners a lot. He (KL) has two more ODIs to go before the IPL. He can cement his place in that Indian team."
Rahul has amassed 614 runs at 34.11 with two centuries -- one at The Oval --, and one fifty in nine Tests in English conditions.
India qualified for the WTC final to be held in June at The Oval against Australia. It will be India's second appearance in the final. They had lost to New Zealand in the 2021 final.