'Karthik will continue. But I still feel India could've played...': Gambhir has his say on absence of 27-year-old star
Gautam Gambhir spoke about the absence of the 27-year-old star player in the first T20I between India and South Africa.
Team India faced a heavy seven-wicket defeat on its return to international action on Thursday against South Africa in the first of five T20Is. India, led by Rishabh Pant, failed to defend a 212-run target as Rassie van der Dussen and David Miller smashed the bowlers all around the park at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. The match saw the return of India stars Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik to the Indian playing XI.
While Hardik scored an explosive unbeaten 31, Dinesh Karthik came to bat with five balls remaining in the Indian innings; he remained unbeaten on 1 off 2 balls. Karthik came on the back of brilliant performances in the recently-concluded edition of the Indian Premier League, where he smashed 330 runs in 16 innings at a staggering strike rate of 183.33.
Following the game, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir was asked if he would like to see a change in the Indian team for the next T20I in Cuttack. While Gambhir said that he would go with the same team, he insisted that India could have opted to play Deepak Hooda, possibly in place of Karthik.
“Now that you have played Dinesh Karthik, you will continue with him. But I still feel you could have played Deepak Hooda, with the form he was in. Also, he is a youngster. But in the next matches, I don't think any changes are required to be done unless the wicket is extremely dry,” said Gambhir.
The former Indian batter further added that Ravi Bishnoi could get a nod in dry conditions.
“In that case, you can probably sit out a seamer and play the leg-spinner in Bishnoi and Hardik can be your third seamer. You will have two wrist-spinners as attacking options but if the ground is small and there is not much spin in the wicket, then you will probably see the same team,” said Gambhir.