‘With due respect to Dinesh Karthik…’: Ex-India selector's bold remark on veteran's competition with Rishabh Pant

Published on Aug 31, 2022 01:46 PM IST

Former India selector Saba Karim, like many noted ex-cricketers, believes that Rishabh Pant should be picked ahead of Dinesh Karthik in India's Asia Cup XI looking at the future.

ndia's Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik after winning the Asia Cup 2022 Group A match against Pakistan, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai.(ANI)
ndia's Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik after winning the Asia Cup 2022 Group A match against Pakistan, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai.(ANI)

India's decision to pick Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant in their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan surprised many including the legendary Wasim Arkam and former India opener Gautam Gambhir. Pant has been India's designated keeper-batter in all formats when available for the last couple of years. In the lead-up to the Asia Cup both Pant and Karthik were regular in India's T20I XI as the latter played as a specialist finisher but with Virat Kohli and KL Rahul returning at the top for Asia Cup, India had to made the hard choice between Pant and Karthik. Captain Rohit Sharma, and head coach Rahul Dravid decided to go with Karthik as the veteran has been providing the finishing touches like no other in the last 8-10 months or so.

Former India selector Saba Karim, like many noted ex-cricketers, however, believes that Pant should be picked looking at the future.

“I was surprised because I do stick to my earlier stand of having Pant in the side in place of Dinesh Karthik because I always felt that we need to look ahead and even now I do believe that Rishabh Pant can add far more value with due respect to Dinesh Karthik than Dinesh Karthik. But there can be possible explanations over there about which one can chat.” Karim said on SPORTS18’s show ‘Sports Over The Top’.

The former wicketkeeper-batter highlighted Pant's recent white-ball performances against South Africa and England to make a solid case for the left-hander.

“That is the conundrum which Rishabh Pant needs to come out of. But lately one has seen those glimpses of the kind of form he’s exhibited in test matches. We saw him play a blinder of on innings in one day against England. And similarly, there have been some great performances. Maybe not on a consistent basis, but I do believe that there’s still so much for Rishabh Pant to learn in T20 cricket. He’s become a much better player now, but I think with more exposure one can see Rishabh Pant growing in confidence and adding far more value to this T20 side also," he added.

Karim, however, agreed that now that India have started with Karthik in the Asia Cup, it is unlikely that will change that after one match, in which Karthik just got to face one ball.

“I think at least for the Asia cup, the Indian team management seems to have decided to have Dinesh Karthik and that is why they want to utilise Ravindra Jadeja as a floater. So, we saw him going up the order at number 4 in the last outing and we may see that happen more often as the game progresses because Jadeja brings a different kind of dimension. Also, he’s become such a mature left-hand bat who can bat up the order at number 4 or number 5 and if there’s an opportunity, he can also come down the order and score quick runs. So, which means that as of now there’s no place for Rishabh Pant in the 11. But having said that I do believe that Rishabh Pant is such an X factor. He can win you games from situations where the team has got no chance whatsoever. So why would you want to keep someone like Rishabh Pant out of the 11.”

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