Moments after India’s World Cup squad was announced on Monday, a question reigned supreme on everyone’s mind – why no Rishabh Pant? Yes, the flamboyant Delhi wicket-keeper batsman, who became India’s first-choice keeper in Tests with hundreds in Australia and England – A feat never achieved by any Indian keeper before – lost out the race to World Cup to a much-experienced Dinesh Karthik. The KKR captain was picked ahead of Pant as India’s back-up keeper for the ICC ODI World Cup in England slated to begin from May 30.
However, experience was not the main criteria which went against Pant, nor was his inability to build an innings and straightaway go for the big shots, which is often the critics favourite getaway when trying to find faults in Pant. It was, in fact the 20-year-old’s keeping skills that let him down and pretty much forced the selectors to go for Karthik.
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Making it clear that keeping was the principal parameter while looking for Dhoni’s back-up in India’s World Cup squad, BCCI chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said, “In an important game wicket keeping is also important. That’s the reason we went with Dinesh Karthik,” after a brief selection meeting which also included Indian captain Virat Kohli at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Monday afternoon.
There is still hope for Pant though as Prasad admitted that Pant or Karthik was the biggest topic of debate in the selection meeting.
“Definitely a case where we debated in length. We all were in unison that either pant or DK will come in only when Mahi is injured,” MSK Prasad said after the squad was announced.
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Pant’s keeping did come into question when he leaked most number of byes (30) by an Indian keeper in only in his second Test at Southampton. India also went to lose the Test match by 60 runs.
That the World Cup 2019 will again be played in England might have prompted the selectors to think about Karthik, who has a lot of experience in playing in UK. Karthik was also a part of India’s Champions Trophy winning squad in England in 2013 apart from being a member of India’s touring Test squads in England in 2007 and 2018.
Apr 15, 2019 16:09 IST
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