Dinesh Karthik to play the 5th Test: According to reports, Dinesh Karthik is likely to be included into the playing eleven for the last Test.
India’s selection conundrum is likely to continue with the continuous chopping and changing of the wicket-keeper in the ongoing Pataudi Trophy. Courtesy of an injury and poor form, the spot has moved player to player this year.
During the New Year’s Test against South Africa, Wriddhiman Saha, the regular man behind the stumps in Test matches, had kept wickets. However, an injury ruled him out of the series. Parthiv Patel, who had boarded the plain along with the team as a cover for the regular wicket-keeper, played the remaining two matches without contributing significantly with both the bat and the gloves.
Dinesh Karthik had been called to South Africa as a replacement for Saha. Having pinned Patel down to play the one-off Test against Afghanistan, Karthik was the front-runner for the tour of England. That being said, the 33-year old wicket-keeper failed to cope up with the conditions, scoring 0, 20, 1 and 0 in the four innings that he has played so far.
Rishabh Pant, who entered the frame as Karthik’s back-up option after strong performance during India A’s tour of England, ended up making his debut at Trent Bridge. With scores of 24, 1, 0 and 18 in the two matches that he has played, Pant failed to impress as well. Moreover, Karthik and Pant were below par with the gloves in hand in swinging English conditions.
According to a recent Times of India report, Karthik was seen practicing with his gloves on along with the slip fielders during a practice session ahead of the Test. This means that the musical chairs (behind the wicket) is likely to continue at The Oval as the team management is considering yet another change. If Karthik plays, he would be desperately wanting to make a significant contribution for without which, him playing another Test for India seems a far-fetched possibility.
A reason why the Indian team management would be looking to include Karthik for the last Test is for him to gain confidence ahead of the Asia Cup. With the series gone and Karthik as a probable for the No. 4 spot in ODIs, perhaps, the management might be wanting him to have another go in the middle.