World Cup 2019: Why Dinesh Karthik needs to feature in India's playing XI
Four hundred and seventy-four runs at an average of 47.22. This has been Dinesh Karthik's record in ODIs since the time of his comeback in 2017. It is said he's out of form; an average of 31.63 with a strike rate of 146 in the IPL surely isn't too bad? In fact, these stats are better than those of Shreyas Iyer and are almost as good as Shikhar Dhawan's numbers this season.
We can conclude that form is out of the question. Admittedly, he hasn't been at his best, but his performances at the end of the season show a vast improvement. Despite all this, there is one big reason why he has to be in the squad. He is simply one of India's best at finishing.
While India have the brute strength of MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya, they need a finisher who is experienced enough and can play big shots as well as calm innings. Here are three innings that showed his skill in that facet - 29 off 8 when India needed 34 runs in 12 balls, 30 off 13 when India needed 60 from 24, and 33 from 13 when India needed 68 from 28.
If one doubts his ability to play long and calm innings, one can look back to when India hosted New Zealand back in 2017. In the second match of the series, Karthik played a vital knock of 64 runs off 92 balls. Chasing a target of 230 on a tricky pitch, Karthik played an innings wherein he played to the flow of the game and made sure to keep the target in check throughout. This is an excellent example of an ability to change gears from his natural game.
Karthik made his debut before Dhoni which leaves no doubt about his prowess in terms of experience. These skills are only there in few middle order batsmen in the side. His finishing is second to only Pandya and Dhoni, while his experience is once again just second to Dhoni.
When it comes to playing a long quick innings from the word go, he will be the best batsman for this purpose. He and Pandya are the only batsmen in the side who can get the run-rate going up in quick time.
A significant difference between team India and England is that the latter has multiple batsmen who can score at a high strike rate. This is the significant difference between India and England in terms of batting, and if Karthik is included to play in the side throughout the tournament, there is no stopping India from registering big totals which can be easily defended by India's potent bowling attack. If the top order clicks, he can be used as a pure finisher as well.
Also read - Highest strike rate in world cup