Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar: Who will replace Shikhar Dhawan for World Cup clash against New Zealand?
The Indian team was recently dealt a huge blow with the news that Shikhar Dhawan will be out for at least 10 days. There is concern that the injury he suffered could be much worse, although India will be hoping that is not the case.
However, a champion team is one that has the personnel to cover up for the loss of an individual. India need to prove that they are not dependent on one individual and have capable replacements.
Fortunately, in KL Rahul, they have one of the brightest young talents in the sport. He has proven to be a more-than-capable opener in the shorter formats. Consistency has eluded him so far, but he has the skill set to forge a successful opening partnership with Rohit Sharma in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence.
However, it is still a mystery as to which middle order batsman will get an opportunity when Rahul relinquishes his number four position to move up the order and open the batting. From batting coach Sanjay Bangar’s pre-match press conference, it is evident that the team management has yet not made up its mind.
At the moment, it seems like a straight shoot-out between Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik. Opinions are divided among fans and experts alike as to who should be included in the team against New Zealand and then in the subsequent matches until Dhawan makes a comeback.
As a like-for-like replacement, it can be argued that a handy batsman like Karthik, who has the reputation of being a good finisher in limited-over cricket, should be given the chance. There is no arguing Shankar’s usefulness to the team as an all-rounder. But at the moment, it is uncertain how the Indian batting line-up will respond to the absence of its most successful batsman in ICC tournaments!
Karthik’s batting skills and experience will certainly lend stability to the Indian team. For that reason, he should be included in the team against New Zealand. India already have four front-line bowlers, and Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav can take care of the fifth bowler's quota.
There is no need to bring in another part-time bowler in Shankar, who certainly does not inspire enough confidence for the captain to trust him with 10 overs.
It is only prudent that Karthik, a capable and proven performer with the bat over the years, gets the nod ahead of Shankar for this crucial match.
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