Exactly a month after the announcement of India’s World Cup squad, skipper Virat Kohli has opened up about the much-debated inclusion of Dinesh Karthik in the team.
When Karthik was left out from India’s squad for the home ODI series against Australia, there was a speculation that Rishabh Pant will pip him for a spot in the World Cup team. However, the MSK Prasad-led selection committee surprised everyone by naming Karthik as a backup wicketkeeper to MS Dhoni.
While chief selector Prasad had made it clear that the decision was taken keeping in mind Karthik's experience. Now, the Indian captain has stressed on the same point, saying Karthik's experience and composure in crunch situations helped him pip the 21-year-old Pant.
“In pressure situations, he’s shown composure,” Kohli told the Times of India 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.”
Having made his ODI debut in 2004, Karthik has featured in 91 matches for India. In contrast, Pant has played just five 50-over games after making debut last year.
“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.
“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 ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 starts on May 30 with South Africa taking on hosts England, while the two-time World champions India begin their campaign on June 5 against the Proteas at Southampton.
Team India’s squad for CWC 2019:
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami