Wicket keeper batsman is a very very important position in the playing 11 and ever since India’s best wicket keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni became unavailable post the World Cup 2019, there has been a see-saw battle going on to secure that position in limited overs side.
The 4 main candidates for the all important position are Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha and Sanju Samson. Although in the limited overs perspective it’s a three way battle as Wriddhiman Saha hasn’t been in contention for that yet.
Rishabh Pant was the #1 choice after MS Dhoni in both ODI's and T20s. His inconsistency with the bat led to his downfall along with terrible bad luck and mismanagement. Just when the southpaw seemed to find his touch with a fluent knock against Aussies in an ODI last year, he was struck on the head by a bouncer and went into concussion. That incident paved way for a certain KL Rahul.
KL Rahul has been with the side now for some years and has primarily been an opener. He adapted well to fill in the vacant #5 position in ODIs and has scored some big knocks batting at 5 recently. As of now India should persist with him at 5 and look for other openers when one among the regular pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan misses out instead of making KL Rahul a scape goat and asking him to open.
Sanju Samson has had a look in India’s T20 squads where he has featured in the playing 11 a couple of times. He played in the top order at that time but it’s not where he will play regularly. There’s a vacancy in No4 or No5 slot that he’ll try and make his own.
In the test front it has always been Wriddhiman Saha as the first choice for home tests and Rishabh Pant has featured in the away tests and the trend is likely to continue with the upcoming tours to Australia and home season against England.
Ahead of the 3 match ODI series starting on November 27th, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly spoke to PTI and said
He (Pant) and Wriddhiman Saha are our two best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the country,
When asked about Pant's poor outing in IPL, he said
Don’t worry. His bat swing will come back. He is a young guy and all of us need to guide him. He’s got tremendous talent. Rishabh will be fine