World Cup 2019: The question arises again - who will be India's No. 4?
- Dhawan's finger injury has paved the way for Shankar or Karthik to join the Indian lineup.
But just when things were looking good, Dhawan's injury break would have brought a sigh to many. Maybe not to Dinesh Karthik or Vijay Shankar though, as one among the two is highly likely to come into the playing XI for the next 3 weeks.
This promises to be a big loss for India as Dhawan's form in ICC events has always been great, which he claims to be a fortunate coincidence. He would be missed for sure by Virat Kohli and Co in India's next five league games.
It seems pretty certain that KL Rahul will be moving up the batting order to open alongside Rohit in place of the injured Delhiite. So the question has resurfaced again: Who will be India's number 4?
Karthik and Shankar, who both hail from the state of Tamil Nadu, would be the ones on the radar now to get into the playing XI.
When the World Cup squad was picked a month ago, MSK Prasad, the chief selector, had said that Karthik is part of the squad as a reserve wicketkeeper. However, Karthik's contribution to the Indian middle-order has been massive over the last couple of years, which can't be ignored.
Though the wicketkeeper-batsman has an average of around 31, he carries massive experience on his shoulders by virtue of being part of the Indian squad on and off for the past 15 years. He is yet to a play a single World Cup game, but his pedigree is unquestionable.
On the other hand, Shankar is the rising star of this Indian cricket team and has been grabbing opportunities whenever provided. The designated No. 4 batsman before the World Cup warm-up games, Shankar lost his place to Rahul who scored a ton while playing at the same position.
Kohli would be tempted to play Shankar over Karthik as the former offers a few overs of medium pace bowling as well. If Hardik Pandya has an off-day, as he had against the Aussies this week, Shankar's services would be of good use in the English conditions.
To add to that, Shankar did a pretty good job against New Zealand a couple of months while batting at No. 3 in T20s; he even scored a match-winning 43 off 28 balls. Considering India are going to face the Kiwis in their next encounter, Shankar could be the front-runner for the No. 4 spot.
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