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3 reasons why India should open with Dinesh Karthik in the Lord's Test

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Karthik may be a good choice as an opener for the Lord's Test
Meit Sampat
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Team India will look to bury the ghosts of the Birmingham Test, especially in the batting department. The top order comprising of Vijay, Dhawan and Rahul could score only 82 runs combined in both the innings. While Vijay scored only 26 runs, Dhawan managed to score 39 and Rahul 17 in both the innings.

Team India needs a strong opening foundation in order to enable their middle order to score more runs. Though Dinesh Karthik struggled in the Birmingham Test in the middle order, it will not be a bad idea to open with him in the Lord's Test.

Here is a look as to why Karthik may be the ideal choice as an opener for the Lord's Test:

#3 India's opening woes:

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Dhawan and Vijay have failed to provide good starts for India outside the subcontinent

The Indian openers have struggled to give good starts to India outside the subcontinent. Before the start of the ongoing Test series against England, Vijay and Dhawan had opened for India in 39 innings and scored 1679 runs at an average of 44.18. However, the average dropped considerably to 25.45 outside the subcontinent and West Indies which shows their vulnerability in bowling friendly conditions. In the first Test at Edgbaston, the duo added 69 runs in the Test in both the innings.

Vijay and Rahul have scored 472 runs in 20 innings at an average of 23.55. The average drops to a dismal 18.80 outside the subcontinent and West Indies.

Dhawan and Rahul average 65.55 while opening for India in 9 innings. However, none of the said innings have been outside the subcontinent and West Indies. Hence there is not much to read into the said average of 65.55.

Thus it is evident that the Indian openers have failed to get the flying starts for India outside the subcontinent.

#2 Success as an opener in England

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Karthik tasted success opening the batting against England in 2007

India toured England for a three-match Test series in the year 2007, and Dinesh Karthik as the opener was supposed to be the weak link in the Indian batting line.

However, the young wicket-keeper-batsman from Tamil Nadu scored 263 runs in 6 innings in the series, at an average of 43.83, which was the highest score by an Indian batsman in the three-match Test series.

Karthik played the English bowlers - James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom, Chris Tremlett and Monty Panesar - with ease and provided the perfect start for team India.

He scored three half-centuries opening the batting and had no problems whatsoever against the swinging ball and eventually led India to victory in the Test series against England in England after a span of 21 years.

Thus the team management may consider opening with Karthik for the Lord's Test considering his past experience as an opener as a youngster in England. Karthik has improved his game tremendously since 2007 and is a better play and will be technically better equipped to open the batting and score runs against the English quicks.

#1 Team combination

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Karthik as an opener will open the gates for Pujara to bat at number 3

If the team management promotes Karthik as an opener, the gates will open for Cheteshwar Pujara to bat at number 3 and may also provide an opportunity to either K. L. Rahul or Karun Nair to bat at number 6.

Rahul struggled in the Edgbaston Test batting at number 3 and hence it will be prudent to draft Pujara in the playing 11 at Lord's at the vital number 3 position.

India require a batsman at number 6 who can negotiate the reverse swing and might have to face the new ball if and when the situation demands. Playing a specialist batsman at number 6 is the need of the hour for team India and that can be possible if Karthik is promoted as an opener. The management will have to decide between Rahul and Nair for the number 6 position in the batting line up.

Thus a batting line-up comprising of 6 specialist batsmen, an all-rounder and 4 bowlers seems to be an ideal combination for India.

Though opening with Karthik may not be a long-term solution, but it seems to be the perfect solution for the ongoing Test series as it adds to the balance of the team.

Edited by Aadya Sharma
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