Chairman of India’s senior selection committee, MSK Prasad has refused to rule out Dinesh Karthik’s chances of making the India squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The wicketkeeper-batsman was not picked for the upcoming ODI series against Australia, Team India’s final international assignment ahead of the mega event.
MSK Prasad pointed out that Dinesh Karthik has done well in the finisher’s role in whatever opportunities he has got in the past and that a call on the back-up wicketkeeper’s slot “at an appropriate time” ahead of the World Cup, starting May 30 in England and Wales.
Rishabh Pant finds a place in both the T20I and ODI squads for the Australia series. The young wicketkeeper-batsman, who finished as the second-highest scorer behind Cheteshwar Pujara for India in their historic 2-1 Test series win in Australia earlier this year, was rested for the subsequent ODI series in Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s definitely a healthy debate that’s going on. We know Dinesh Karthik has been doing really well in the finisher’s role. At the same time, Rishabh Pant’s escalation has been very fast. He is showing a lot of maturity. Both of them are equally good but what is good for the team is going to help us take a call at the appropriate time,” MSK Prasad said in an interview to Hotstar.
Even as Pant was not picked for the ODI series in Australia and New Zealand both MSK Prasad and the team management insisted he was in the World Cup mix. In fact, head coach Ravi Shastri said Pant was asked to learn to finish games. Pant played a couple of one-day games for India A against England Lions before he joined the senior national team for the T20I series in New Zealand earlier this month.
Meanwhile, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar suggested Dinesh Karthik should definitely be part of India’s World Cup squad and even tipped the Tamil Nadu veteran to be the team’s back-up opener at the quadrennial event.
“There should be flexibility in the team. Dinesh Karthik has opened in Test matches in the past so he can do it in ODIs too,” Gavaskar said.
On the contrary, former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar had opined that the selector’s decision to not include Karthik in the ODI squad signalled that his career in ODI cricket is over.
“His fans will feel sorry because with the opportunity he has got, he has done as well as he could. But I feel with this selection or non-selection of Karthik, India have told everyone that we look at Karthik as a T20 batsman, and his 50-over future is over as far as we are concerned,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
KL Rahul’s form is very important for World Cup selection: Prasad
Meanwhile, MSK Prasad has insisted KL Rahul is being looked at as back-up opener but opined that he needs to hit form in order to justify his selection. Rahul, who hadn’t played international cricket since the Sydney Test in January, has been included in both the T20I and the ODI squads for the upcoming home series.
“At such a major tournament [World Cup], we can’t afford to go in without a third opener. That’s why we have included KL Rahul for the T20Is and the ODIs against Australia. We have to see how he performs because his form is also very important,” Prasad said.