Dinesh Karthik should have been selected in T20I squad: The selectors have missed a trick by dropping the wicket-keeper batsman.
Among the many changes made to India’s limited-over teams for the imminent tour of West Indies involves wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik getting dropped from both the ODI and T20I teams. It was only in April that chief selector MSK Prasad had declared Karthik as the second-best wicket-keeper batsman behind Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
During the World Cup, Karthik registered scores of 8 and 6 in the two innings which he played. Against Bangladesh, Karthik came in to bat at No. 7 in the 45th over and scored 8 (9). In the semi-final against New Zealand, Karthik was perhaps wrongly sent in to bat at No. 5 ahead of Dhoni in a situation which was more suitable for the latter.
For all we know, there seem minimal chances of the 34-year old cricketer Karthik playing the next World Cup and hence has been dropped from the ODI team. Fair? Probably not.
Dinesh Karthik should have been selected in T20I squad
What is all the more intriguing is the fact that Karthik has also been dropped from the T20I team. Since making his comeback after seven years in July 2017, Karthik was a vital part of the T20I team. In the last year or so, Karthik was exceptional when it came to sealing chases – a quality you expect in someone who bats in the lower middle-order.
Since July 2017, Karthik has scored 299 runs in 22 T20Is (for India) at an average of 59.80 and a strike rate of 161.62. In 10 times when Karthik batted second in this time period, he scored 209 runs at an average of 104.50 and a strike rate of 155.97. It is worth mentioning that Karthik has the best strike rate among Indian batsmen who have scored more than 75 runs in the second innings since July 2017.
In the same time period, India won eight T20Is while chasing with Karthik in the Playing XI. Out of eight, Karthik batted on seven occasions, remaining unbeaten every time to score 141 runs at a strike rate of 142.42.
The absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya from the squad adds to the dearth of finishers in the team. While the finisher in Karthik would have been an ideal pick in such a situation, not finding him in the 15-member squad is both disappointing and questionable.
Why Iyer and Pandey are not able replacements for Karthik
The T20I squad announced for the tour of West Indies has seen batsmen Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey staging comeback into the squad. While both of them have done well in both the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Indian Premier League, they are not able replacements for Karthik primarily because of their batting position.
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) July 21, 2019
Both Iyer and Pandey are naturally batsmen who bat in the Top Four. Considering the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Lokesh Rahul and Rishabh Pant comprising of the Top Five, Iyer and Pandey might not find a place in the XI or might just be given the role to finish the innings. If that happens, another case of a batsman becoming victim of being given a contrasting role might be in store for us.