Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With important tournaments like World Test Championship (WTC) Final, Asia Cup and the Cricket World Cup on home soil coming up, Team India is getting ready for a busy season ahead. However, the injury to explosive wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant is a major blow to the Men in Blue. Pant is still recovering from the injury which he sustained due to the unfortunate car accident. Pant is all set to miss the action for around a year.

India are experimenting with many wicket-keeper batters to find a suitable replacement for Pant. While KS Bharat has taken the job in Test cricket, KL Rahul is taking the gloves in ODI cricket so far. The likes of Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are also considered alternatives for Pant.

However, former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has suggested a different alternative for Pant. Pietersen has been highly impressed with wicket-keeper batsman Jitesh Sharma’s effort in Punjab Kings 13-run win against Mumbai Indians. Jitesh played a cameo of 25 runs in just seven balls to pull up a win for his team.

“India have their Rishabh Pant replacement. Jitesh Sharma, the wicketkeeper from Punjab Kings, is also something special. I think he could be the guy who takes over from Rishabh for India if Pant is out for a while longer. His 25 off seven balls, including four sixes, against Mumbai on Saturday was match-winning,” Pietersen wrote in a column.

Notably, Jitesh had impressed all in the 2022 season of IPL. He took up the finisher’s role for PBKS with elan as he scored 234 runs in 12 games at an impressive strike rate of 163.64. Jitesh earned his maiden call-up to the Indian T20I side for the series against Sri Lanka in January following an injury to Samson. However, he failed to make his debut for Team India.