Former India opener Aakash Chopra reckons that the team management should have taken a final call on who would be the first-choice keeper-batter between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik for the T20 World Cup 2022 two months ago. He also disagreed with suggestions that Pant should replace Karthik for the semi-final against England on Thursday, November 10.
The Pant versus Karthik debate has been the talking point in Indian cricketing circles ahead of the second semi-final in Adelaide. While Karthik has registered three single-figure scores in three innings, Pant was dismissed for three in his only outing against Zimbabwe.
A number of cricket experts reckon that Team India should stick with the left-hander despite his failure against Zimbabwe because of his match-winning ability. Sharing his thoughts on the burning topic, Chopra tweeted:
“There are a lot of arguments in favour of Pant playing in place of DK vs England. But a couple of things to note: 1. If Pant plays, Hardik (Pandya) likely to bat at 6. That reduces his batting impact considerably. 2. Pant has hardly played in this tournament. Form?”
The 45-year-old also questioned the logic that Pant should be brought in to counter leg-spin. Rubbishing the argument, he retorted:
“If taking down leg-spin was the reason, he should’ve played against Pakistan. To counter Shadab and even Nawaz. DK hasn’t done a great deal but the only real chance for him of making an impact was vs SA at Perth. How many (except SKY) scored there?.
“Don’t judge a fish for his ability to climb a tree. Or else you’d be disappointed and also, call the Fish a ‘failure’. IMHO, India had to take a call on Pant v DK two months ago. Asia Cup was where you should’ve known who’s the first choice. And then stick with him. Ends.”
Karthik made a comeback into the Indian team after three years following a stupendous IPL 2022 campaign for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). With Pant failing to deliver with the bat in T20Is, the veteran keeper became the preferred choice in India’s playing XI for the T20 World Cup 2022 campaign, playing four of five Super 12 matches.
“I think only Pant will play now” – Mohammad Kaif
Former India batter Mohammad Kaif reckons that, with Karthik failing to deliver, the Men in Blue will back Pant as the keeper-batter going forward. Speaking to Sportskeeda, he opined:
“I think only Pant will play now, irrespective of whether he does well or not. He is also not in great form, but I feel that in the upcoming games and going forward as well, Pant will be backed completely. The challenge for him is to grab his opportunities and play match-winning knocks for India.”
Team India skipper Rohit Sharma did not give anything away at the pre-match press conference ahead of the semis. He commented:
“What is going to happen tomorrow, I cannot tell you but both of those keepers will be in play for selection.”
Pant has produced disappointing numbers in T20Is. In 63 matches, he has scored 964 runs at an average of 23.51 and a strike rate of 127.
Poll : Who should be Team India’s pick for the Semi-Finals against England?