MS Dhoni is a sure starter in the lineup for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. But, who would be the second choice keeper for India, Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik? The answer has to be clear, as the BCCI has to make a call sooner than later. Meanwhile, looking at the current ODI schedule heading into the mega event; the India National Cricket Team has seven ODIs in front of them to make a call. Though Dinesh remains to be in the scheme of things, the absence of Pant from the ODI setup could hurt his chances.
Why DK, and not Pant?
Anyone would put up this question; why Dinesh Karthik and not Rishabh Pant? Well, looking at the numbers and the recent exploits in the 50-over format, DK looks like a possible pick.
Yes, MS Dhoni is ageing, and since he’s already 37, he cannot be the same player he was a decade back. He isn’t a finisher anymore, and India needs one at cricket’s biggest event. So, knowing how DK had conducted himself at the lower order in few of the past series; Virat, team management and the selectors must make a wise choice of picking him over Pant. Meanwhile, in the last year, DK had played seven ODIs and scored 167 runs at an average of 41.75.
Let’s go back in time and remember what he did in the finals of the Nidahas Trophy 2018. India was facing Bangladesh in the summit clash. With the Indian team nearly needing 34 off 12 balls, Dinesh entered the scene and began hitting from the word go. Needing five off the last delivery, he smashed a six over the covers to help India clinch the multi-team tournament.
Much like this, he performed equally well in the Australia T20Is; where he helped India win a game in Sydney, batting alongside Kohli. In the ODI series, later on, he paired with MS Dhoni to see India home in a run-chase. Meanwhile, his batting prowess is still acknowledged worldwide, and thus he deserves a chance over Rishabh Pant in the squad for the 2019 World Cup.
Rishabh Pant still has a chance!
If not as the second choice wicketkeeper, the left-handed batsman could well return to the ODI team as a proper batsman. He’s an explosive player, the world knows; but Pant is new to the international stage as well. Yes, he had scored two centuries in Tests since his debut, and ICC included him in the Test Team of the Year 2018 as well; Rishabh Pant could be the weak link in the lineup. He though has played two ODIs and has scored 41 runs in total.
However, with the forthcoming season of the IPL 2019, he at least has 14 games to press his case for the selection in the ODI team. Who knows, both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant could get picked for the 2019 World Cup.