A month ago, India’s World Cup 2019 squad was announced with a couple of selections making the fans and the fraternity unhappy. One of them was the preference of Dinesh Karthik over the young gloveman Rishabh Pant as the second wicketkeeper. And while chief selector MSK Prasad had said that Pant’s exclusion was unfortunate, the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli has said that they have preferred Karthik’s experience and composure in crunch situations helped him pip Rishabh Pant.
MS Dhoni will be India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in during the mega event as Prasad had clarified that Karthik will only play if Dhoni gets injured during the World Cup 2019. Teams can change players until May 23 and several former players believe India will miss Pant in the showpiece which gets underway on May 30.
Talking about Karthik, Kohli said, “In pressure situations, he’s shown composure. It was something that everybody on board was convinced about. He has the experience. If, god forbid, something happens to MS (Dhoni), Karthik can be immensely valuable behind the wickets. As a finisher, he’s done well. So, it was the overall exposure to a tournament of this magnitude that was taken into primary consideration.”
Karthik will be playing his second World Cup as he was also selected in the 2007 World Cup squad. He made his ODI debut in 2004 and has played 91 matches for India in the format, compared with Pant who has played just five after making his 50-over debut last October.
Talking about the opinions of fans regarding the exclusion of Pant, the head coach Ravi Shastri said, “We can very well imagine there’s more than an opinion in place that some capable guys have missed out. Heart goes out to them. Picking 15 from an immensely talented pool is never easy. I’d say to these guys: Keep going the way you have. Be prepared, in case there’s an unforeseen requirement that pops up.”
The Indian team will start their World Cup 2019 campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.