A World Cup squad announcement without an element of surprise is a rare occurrence and the tradition continued as Rishabh Pant was overlooked in favour of Dinesh Karthik when the BCCI selection committee named the 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup in England and Wales. And while chief selector MSK Prasad made it amply clear that it was unfortunate that Rishabh Pant missed out, the decision was taken keeping in mind Dinesh Karthik’s abilities as a wicket-keeper. Now, skipper Virat Kohli said that the Tamil Nadu-born cricketer experience and composure in crunch situations saw him get the nod over Pant.
Team India primary choice of wicket-keeper batsman will be MS Dhoti, Karthik will go as a reserve. During an interview, Kohli said “If god forbid, something happens to MS (Dhoni), Karthik can be immensely valuable behind the wickets. As a finisher, he’s done well in the recent past.
Teams are still permitted to alter their World Cup squads up until May 23 but Pant is not expected to travel to England with the Indian squad.
Kohli, speaking to press, said of Karthik “In pressure situations, he has shown composure. It was something that everybody on board was convinced about.”
Pant failed to make the opportunities count in the two matches that he got. Apart from missing two siblings in the high-stake Mohali ODI. Pant also failed with the bat defying his image of being a game-changer. Much like how he disappointed during his ODI debut series against West Indies at home in 2018.
On the other hand, Karthik has grabbed most of the chances with both hands that came his way in the build up to the squad selection. He was the difference in two of the four innings in which he batted, during Australia and New Zealand away ODI series as he helped conquer some close chases. He scored 25 off 14 deliveries during a game in which India defeated Australia in Adelaide and his 38 took India to win against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui. Enhancing his reputation as a finisher which he earned after his last-ball six helped India to clinch the Nidahas Trophy.
Heart goes out to all those who missed the bus for World Cup. Picking 15 from an immensely talented pool is never easy.