Dinesh Karthik’s re-emergence in the shortest format of the game has created a problem of plenty for the Indian team management when it comes to finalizing the squad for the forthcoming T20 World Cup 2022. Karthik has aced the role of finisher for Royal Challengers Bangalore, and his hitting prowess has bailed out the franchise on several occasions this season.
Dinesh Karthik has walked back unbeaten in six out of eight games, and has scored at an astronomical strike rate of 200. The wicket-keeper’s last appearance for India was in 2019, but his recent form has again brought him into contention.
His main weapon is his versatility. With the upcoming T20 World Cup to be staged in Australia, India will need a player of his rank — someone who is not afraid of pace and bounce. But he will need to displace Rishabh Pant to get into playing XI.
Karthik is keen on getting into India’s squad on the back of a terrific IPL. If he carries his form to the second half of the tournament, it will give a massive boost to his World Cup aspirations.
Harbhajan Singh, the former Indian cricketer, feels Karthik has an edge over Pant when it comes to current form.
“He was getting dismissed in a crunch situation but he’s now helping Bangalore win from that position. He is winning you games… I will put him ahead of everyone including Rishabh Pant. He should be your first choice going to Australia,” said Harbhajan, who has also played under Karthik at Kolkata Knight Riders.
Sanjay Manjrekar, meanwhile, feels that it won’t be easy for Karthik to get into the final XI in Australia. Majrekar reasoned that he will have to fight with Hardik Pandya, as Pant will continue to be the first choice wicket-keeper for India.
“But when I’m looking at the incumbents, it’s tough to get into India’s Playing XI. Because he’s looking only at No. 5,6,7 spots. He’s not someone who can bat up the order… that’s not being considered I think. He will have to displace Rishabh Pant,” said Manjrekar.
“We will have to start looking at Hardik Pandya vs Dinesh Karthik. It’s not going to be ease.”
Ravi Shastri, former India coach, too backed Karthik based on his condition and form.
“I will go with the current form and the conditions where we will be playing. The kind of shots that can be played, experience coming into play, and fitness of the player. He (Karthik) is as fit as anyone around!” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo.