Dinesh Karthik’s experience and composure in pressure situations helped him pip young sensation Rishabh Pant to the second wicketkeeper’s spot in India’s World Cup squad, captain Virat Kohli has said. With Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the undisputed first-choice wicketkeeper of the side, the selectors preferred Karthik, 33, in their 15-man squad over Pant, who is known for his swashbuckling batting.
Teams can change players until May 23 and several former players believe India will miss the 21-year-old in the showpiece which gets underway on May 30.
“In pressure situations, he’s shown composure,” Kohli told the Times of India newspaper about Karthik. “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 made his one-day international debut in 2004 and has played 91 matches for India in the format, compared with left-handed batsman Pant who has played just five after making his 50-over debut last October.
Karthik, who has also played 26 test matches for India, has the ability to bat anywhere in the batting order which makes him a limited-overs asset.
“We can very well imagine there’s more than an opinion in place that some capable guys have missed out,” India coach Ravi Shastri added. “Heart goes out to them.
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“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.”
Unlike the India of the past, the 1983 and 2011 winners also boast a very potent pace attack, led by top-ranked ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah.
The death-overs specialist will be aided by Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with both known for their ability to swing the ball both ways – something which should be handy in conditions in England.
“The one common factor binding these guys is confidence,” Kohli said. “They all believe that they can be the best.
“There’s no set rule for anything – like Indian spinners have to be the best in the world, the best batsmen or whatever. The thing is, if you believe it, you can achieve it.”
India begin their bid for a third World Cup title against South Africa in Southampton on June 5. (Reuters)