Opinion: Picking Rishabh Pant over Dinesh Karthik for the Australia series is disheartening
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced the 15-member squad for the Australia series starting from 24th February, on Friday. While skipper Virat Kohli and speedster Jasprit Bumrah have returned to the squad following a much-needed rest, wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and opener KL Rahul have been recalled for the ODI series.
While there have been a few omissions in the side for the forthcoming series, Dinesh Karthik's exclusion from the squad, undoubtedly, has been the most notable one.
Knowing the fact that the upcoming series against Australia is India's last International assignment before they head to England for World Cup, it's quite clear now the team management has decided to include Pant in the World Cup squad ahead of Dinesh Karthik as the second wicket-keeper batsman and perhaps it's one of the worst decisions ever.
A 33-year-old Karthik with 14 years of cricketing experience has once again been sidelined, this time by a young Rishabh Pant. The Kolkata Knight Rider's skipper, in the last couple of years, has been in outstanding form and has been working his butt off in a hope to seek a place in the eleven but only to see disappointment at the end.
From being a restless rookie to a composed finisher, Dinesh Karthik has learnt the art of hitting those massive sixes and become India's new finisher with Dhoni coming at number five. The wicket-keeper batsman has helped team India and his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders see home on a number of occasions in the last couple of years, thus making himself the ideal case for India's number six batsman.
Since Asia Cup 2018, Karthik has batted nine times in 11 ODIs (6 in Asia Cup, 3 against Australia, and 2 against New Zealand), and ended up unbeaten in five. He scored 220 runs in 9 innings at a healthy average of 44. Coming in at number six position, for someone to average 44 is indeed not at all a bad number.
A versatile batsman who can bat anywhere in the order, a livewire in the field, unarguably a better wicket-keeper than Rishabh Pant, Karthik's fate has never been great. The world is not always a happy place. No?
The 21-year-old Pant, on the other hand, has the firepower in him and certainly has the ability to release the pressure off the team in the time of any collapse. However, having just played three ODIs till now, with no control to aggression, the move can backfire and could well prove costly for Team India who will be aiming for their third World Cup title.
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