ICC World Cup 2019: How India can fit both Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik in the squad
As India's World Cup 2019 preparations hit full swing, the job on hand for the team management is to find the perfect 15 for the tournament. But as the squad for the tour of Australia was announced, there was one big name missing - Dinesh Karthik.
It is clear that Rishabh Pant is high in the pecking order for Team India as per the statements of chief selector, MSK Prasad, and also based on the opinions of former Indian players like Ashish Nehra. But then another question comes up: is he experienced enough for that role?
Pant has played all of 9 Test matches along with a handful of limited overs games, while Karthik has been in the team for almost 10 years. Now without further ado, let's get to the point and find a way to fit both of them into the team.
The slots remaining in the Indian team are those of a backup middle order batsman, a backup opener, an additional pacer, and an all-rounder. With Vijay Shankar sealing his place as an all-rounder and pacer, the two slots remaining are that of a backup opener and a backup middle order batsman.
As Pant has been included in the squad as a back up wicketkeeper, we can conclude that he is a certainty in the World Cup slot. So now, that leaves one slot: that of an opener.
But what if Pant plays as a backup opener, backup keeper, and a backup middle order batsman? It is known that Pant can open the batting, and has done that on numerous occasions with moderate success. He can be a like-for-like backup to Shikhar Dhawan, and his left arm aggressive play will perfectly complement Rohit Sharma's right arm and more composed style of play.
Due to these reasons, Pant can be a backup opener in the squad in case of injury to one of the openers or loss of form.
If Pant is in the squad as both a middle-order batsman and an opener, that reduces the importance of having another opener like Ajinkya Rahane or KL Rahul in the squad. As a result, an additional slot is emptied.
And who can fill that slot? Dinesh Karthik.
India still need some experience in the middle order, and Karthik would fit that role perfectly. The selectors have been grooming him as a finisher the past few months, and it would be terrible if all their efforts went in vain.
Karthik can still do the finisher's job, if he is given another chance. Now it's just a matter of getting him into the squad.