India on Monday named a tried and tested squad for the World Cup led by Virat Kohli with selectors going for experience in all the slots for the marquee 50-over event.
Dinesh Karthik, 33, was given the second wicketkeeper’s slot over rising 21-year-old star Rishabh Pant, ending days of speculation over the role. Vijay Shankar’s inclusion means he will probably be the first choice number four batsman, a position which India has struggle to fill permanently.
Karthik has not been on form in recent games, but selectors said they value his performance under pressure over the years. “Definitely it’s a case where we debated at length. We went ahead with Karthik because of his experience in big matches,” chief selector M.S.K. Prasad told a news conference.
“We have seen Karthik finishing matches under pressure. Pant is full of talent, there’s a lot of time for him and it’s just unfortunate that he has missed out.” Karthik was part of the Indian squad for the 2007 World Cup but was overlooked for 2011 and 2015. The selectors however made it clear that former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 37, would remain first-choice wicketkeeper. “In an important game, wicketkeeping is also important. Karthik will only play in case of an injury to Dhoni,” Prasad said.
Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar said Pant could have been an exciting option but backed the selectors. —APP