Former India batsman VVS Laxman recalls India’s current head coach Rahul Dravid praising Andhra Pradesh wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat, who was outstanding behind the wickets while replacing Wriddhiman Saha in Kanpur during the first Test against New Zealand. With India’s first-choice keeper Rishabh Pant resting for the series, Bharat has been picked as a backup for Saha, who made his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide last year.

However, due to a stiff neck, the 37-year-old had to withdraw on the third day, and Bharat seized the opportunity, performing admirably on a challenging course with variable bounce and turn. Bharat took a superb low catch off Ashwin’s bowling to dismiss Will Young, as well as a challenging stumping opportunity to dismiss Tom Latham and a caught-behind chance to dismiss Ross Taylor.

“I vividly remember Rahul Dravid screaming over KS Bharat’s wicket-keeping skills,” Laxman stated on Star Sports, recalling his interaction with Dravid. Bharat possesses good keeping skills, according to him, second only to Wriddhiman Saha in Indian cricket. It’s encouraging to see him reward the selectors’ and head coach’s trust. “I believe he has justified the selectors’ and coach’s confidence in him,” he added.

“In these quality spin conditions, if you don’t have a solid wicketkeeper, you’re going to miss a lot of chances,” Laxman remarked, emphasizing the importance of having a dependable wicketkeeper. VVS Laxman said, “What we witnessed today was amazing technique and great presence of mind; he didn’t worry at all for someone who has only lately joined this team and only got to play because Saha was hurt.”

Meanwhile, following the day’s play, Bharat claimed that he just had 12 minutes to prepare after learning at the last minute that Saha would be unable to play. “I was getting ready in the morning when the support staff instructed me to get ready. I barely had 12 minutes to be ready for the game,” Bharat was quoted as saying in a video shared by BCCI during a conversation with Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel.