Dinesh Karthik was definitely not among the players who would have feared for their places in the squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup. Well, there were really very few or no reasons for Karthik to be worried about the spot. With MS Dhoni’s finishing abilities on the decline, India was in desperate need of a finisher and they pinned their hopes on Karthik. It was a big gamble considering Karthik’s past track record.
The Tamil Nadu man had arrived at the scene even before Dhoni had made his debut in 2004 but inconsistency never allowed him to get a longer rope in the team. But when he returned to team during the 2017 Champions Trophy, he was a different man altogether. The new Karthik was not restless like his older version, took his time and played according to the situation. Perhaps these were the attributes that convinced the team-management to try the right-hander as a finisher and Karthik pretty much repaid the faith.
In the past two years in ODIs, Karthik was unbeaten in seven out of ten games India won while chasing. Only Joe Root (nine), Virat Kohli (eight) and Dhoni (eight) were ahead of him. Since the 2017 Champions Trophy, Karthik has scored 425 runs in 20 matches at an average of over 47. 22.
In T20Is in the past two years, Karthik has been even more impressive. In the seven innings he has batted when India have won chasing, Karthik was there till the end of the game, scoring 141 runs at a strike rate of 142.42.
Just going through some batting numbers of @DineshKarthik over the last 18 months and its not surprising to see that he has become one of the best finishers in the world right now. This version of DK is all that he ever wanted to be, I am very happy for him. 👏#INDvsAUS
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) January 16, 2019
No surprises then everyone was expecting Dinesh Karthik’s place to be secured in the World Cup squad. However, the selectors on Friday, sprung a huge surprise by dropping Karthik for the upcoming five-match series against Australia. In Karthik’s place, the selectors recalled Rishabh Pant. With the upcoming series being the last for India before the World Cup, Karthik’s World Cup chances are now hanging by balance.
And in case, he fails to make it to the World Cup and Pant delivers, it looks all over for him now in ODIs. With age not on his side either, the team-management is likely to give Pant an extended run.
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