'Where does he fit in? It's an important question': Karthik feels Dravid will pick 'tried and tested' XI in SA series

  • Karthik feels that despite the selection debate head coach Rahul Dravid is most likely to go ahead with his "tried and tested" playing XI for the South Africa Test series
Dinesh Karthik; Rahul Dravid(AP)
Dinesh Karthik; Rahul Dravid(AP)
Published on Dec 07, 2021 12:24 PM IST
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An evening after Indian's record 372-run win in Mumbai against the defending World Test champions New Zealand, cricket fraternity have been hit by the selection dilemma for the impending tour of South Africa which will begin from December 26. with the three-Test series in Centurion. And joining the debate on Monday, veteran Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik posed a rather "important" question over the selection of Hanuma Vihari for the middle-order combination before admitted that head coach Rahul Dravid is most likely to go ahead with his "tried and tested" method.

Talking to Cricbuzz, Karthik pointed that Vihari was unfortunate to have missed the New Zealand Test series as he was sent to South Africa to play two unofficial Tests for India A, and the players who featured in his stead in the home series scored enough to keep their place in the XI.

"This whole group of KL Rahul, Rohit and Mayank will be the three openers, followed by Pujara, Rahane and Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill will be the batters. Don't know what will happen to Hanuma Vihari. Ideally he should have been part of the squad, but sad that he had to go and play for India A. Are they going to fit him in when he comes back to the squad? Because everyone here has done enough to hold on to their places. Even the ones getting 30s and 40s, which cannot be undervalued, have looked set on tough wickets. Kanpur and Mumbai were not easy wickets. They applied themselves and played good shots. So where does a Vihari fit in that's an important question. Has Iyer done enough to come and take over Vihari's place," he said.

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Vihari would have been the likely replacement for injured KL Rahul and subsequently would have played the two Tests in the home series. But with the injury announcement coming a day after his selection for India A, the management named Suryakumar Yadav as the replacement while Shreyas Iyer was handed the debut cap in Kanpur where he scored 105 and 65 to win the Man of the Match trophy.

Vihari will also face stiff competition from Shubman Gill, who was initially slated to play as a middle-order batsman for India against New Zealand prior to Rahul's injury.

Karthik also felt that Rahane's position is in danger having returned with scores of 35 and 4 in the Kanpur Test which dropped his average to 24.39 in the last 16 matches. However, the veteran believes that Dravid is likely to go ahead of Pujara and Rahane before making some changes to the middle-order line-up in the later stages of the Test series.

"Another man there who is hanging on by the skin of the teeth - Rahane. He is the vice-captain and has done phenomenally well as a captain. Where does he does? But knowing Rahul Dravid, he will go with the tried and tested method of going with Pujara and Rahane to start with and then when things unfold he will unravel another and makes changes necessary. All these guys will be on the plane to South Africa and will be in the XI as well. Don't see too many changes as well, maybe one odd change," he added.

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Monday, January 17, 2022