What lies in store next for Dinesh Karthik?
With the 2019 World Cup a mere three months away, the Indian cricket team needs to put all the speculations, confusions, and dilemmas to rest. Fortunately for India, the top order has undergone minimal changes over the past year, signaling stability. Finding the right middle order combination though has been a compelling task for the team management.
Dhoni has been captain Kohli's go-to man in challenging times. Jadhav has made the number 6 spot his own by showing a great understanding of the match situation. Pant, riding on the back of some excellent knocks in the longest format of the game, is now a familiar face in the international cricketing circles.
The Australian team's tour to India comprising of 2 T20Is and 5 ODIs before the World Cup comes as a perfect platform for team India to experiment with different team combinations.
Karthik's exclusion from the ODI squad has raised a few questions. Sadly for him, he has not been able to replicate his heroics in the shortest format to the ODIs.
The Nidahas Trophy final, 2018 will always be synonymous with Karthik's unprecedented exploits. His ODI career statistics, however, do not always do just full justice to his batting credibility.
Since the Champions Trophy in 2017, Karthik has featured in 20 ODIs, scoring 425 runs at an average of 47.22. His highest score of 64* in the aforementioned period came against NZ in 2017. The whopping batting average can be credited to his unbeaten stay at the crease on 8 of these occasions.
Karthik's most valuable knocks have often been scored while chasing small totals. Although, his knocks of 37 against Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup in 2018 and 44 against Afghanistan in the tied match of the same tournament did come in handy.
Karthik's credentials as a genuine match winner will always be debatable. Rayudu's knock of 90 against NZ, in telling circumstances, possibly made Karthik fall out of the selector's reckoning.
The latest installment of the IPL is Karthik's topmost priority before the World Cup. A T20 specialist and a leader for the generations, he will be looking to lift the IPL trophy in the world's most competitive T20 league with the Kolkata Knight Riders
His continued success in the IPL coupled with the plethora of cameos in T20s will make him a favorite amongst selectors for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.