When the 15-man Indian squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was announced earlier last month, there was some furore over the team selection. The rejection of Ambati Rayudu (and his ‘3D glass’ comment that followed) and the inclusion of Vijay Shankar were some of the talking points. However, at the center of it all was the exclusion of young gun Rishabh Pant with 33-year-old Dinesh Karthik getting the nod. Pant’s performance in the Indian Premier League led to fans demanding the 21-year-old’s addition in the squad.
Rishabh Pant deserves to play World Cup. No doubt left @RishabPant777
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) May 9, 2019
Chief selector MSK Prasad explained it was unfortunate that Rishabh Pant couldn’t make the squad.
However, now, the India skipper Virat Kohli has revealed that it was Karthik’s experience and composure in the crunch situations that got him the WC place ahead of Rishabh Pant.
“In pressure situations, he has shown composure,” Virat Kohli explained in an interview with the Times of India about Karthik. “It was something that everybody on board was convinced about.”
“He has the experience. If, god forbid, something happens to MS (Dhoni), Karthik can be immensely valuable behind the wickets. As a finisher, he’s done well.
“So, it was the overall exposure to a tournament of this magnitude that was taken into primary consideration.”
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Experience Matters Over Talent
MS Dhoni will be donning the gloves as India’s designated first-choice wicketkeeper in England and Wales. MSK Prasad has already made it clear that Karthik will feature only if Dhoni gets injured. Interestingly, 33-year-old Karthik has made both his ODI and Test debuts for the national side before MS Dhoni.
After making it to the World Cup squad back in 2007, Karthik will be returning to the 15-man only for the second time.
Having made his debut back in 2004, the Chennai-based batsman has went on to play 91 matches for India in the 50-over format. In comparison, left-handed Pant has featured in only five ODIs since his debut last October.
However, the one thing that sets Karthik apart from Pant is his ability to bat anywhere in the batting order. Moreover, he has shown the capacity to stick to the crease and finish games.
“We can very well imagine there’s more than an opinion in place that some capable guys have missed out,” India coach Ravi Shastri added. “Heart goes out to them.
“Picking 15 from an immensely talented pool is never easy. I’d say to these guys: Keep going the way you have. Be prepared, in case there’s an unforeseen requirement that pops up.”
India begin their World Cup campaign with a couple of warm-up games against New Zealand (May 25) and Bangladesh (May 28).
The Men in Blue will start face South Africa in WC’s first fixture on June 5.