Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar has batted for Dinesh Karthik’s inclusion in Team India's T20 World Cup 2022 squad.
With the T20 World Cup still four months away, Karthik has strengthened his selection claims with consistent performances in the shortest format.
Playing for RCB in the IPL 2022, the 37-year-old amassed 330 runs from 16 innings at an incredible strike rate of 183.33 and regained his place in the national T20I side.
Karthik is now producing the magic for India in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa. He was the star performer in the home team’s series-levelling 82-run victory over the Proteas in the fourth T20I at Rajkot.
Batting at No. 6, the veteran campaigner slammed 55 off 27 balls (9 fours and 2 sixes) and added 65 runs for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya (46 off 31 balls) to propel the hosts to 169/6, which proved too much for the visitors in the end.
"I know people are talking about how can you include him in the team when he's not going to play. How do you see he's not going to be able to play? He could be the guy you want. You look at the form and not reputations or names and then you pick the guy," Gavaskar said in the post-match show on Star Sports on Friday (June 17).
While Sunil Gavaskar didn’t take anyone’s name, it seemed his comments came in response to Gautam Gambhir’s recent remarks that he will have a younger guy in the squad instead of Karthik.
"Once KL, Rohit, Surya and Virat are back, I don't see him in the playing XI. This will be your top 4 and then you'll have someone like Hooda, Pant, Hardik, Jadeja. I will have a younger guy (in place of Karthik) who is a better fielder on those grounds and can probably chip in with a couple of overs as well,” Gambhir had said while speaking on Star Sports after the second T20I.
On the contrary, Gavaskar feels that one should not look at Karthik's age and rather focus on his important runs at an impressive strike rate in a difficult situation.
"He (Dinesh Karthik) doesn't get too many opportunities, bats at No. 6 and 7. You can't expect him to get 50 regularly. He'll get you a good 40 in 20 deliveries, and that's what he has been doing consistently. He did exactly the same thing again, and that is the reason why he's very much in contention for a place in the World Cup squad.
"The way he was getting runs today (Friday), India was down and out. It showed great character, great determination, and a great sense of purpose. He's desperate to play for India again. I think that might be his swansong. I know there's a 50-overs World Cup next year and he might want to be available for that as well. But whatever it is, don't look at the man's age, look at the performances," Gavaskar remarked.