With four months left for the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia, the Indian team management is keeping an eye on the performance of all the players in the last-15 players. Dinesh Karthik, 37, has impressed as a finisher. Even India head coach Rahul Dravid believes that Dinesh Karthik has provided many options before his aggressive last-over batting.
Karthik has scored 94 runs in four T20Is against South Africa at an average of 46.00 with a strike rate of 158.62, second best to David Miller (165.61). Karthik scored 55 runs in 27 balls in the fourth T20 match played in Rajkot, due to which the Indian team was successful in leveling the series.
Dravid has said that he wants to determine the main squad for the World Cup by the end of the series against England and made it clear that one has to perform exceptionally to make it to the last 15 players.
Dinesh Karthik, who played in the upper order at the beginning of his career, also performed brilliantly in the recent IPL. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, he scored 330 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 183.33. 37-year-old Dinesh is the oldest player to score a half-century in T20.
Rishabh Pant under pressure
Karthik played an innings of 55 runs in 27 balls in Rajkot. He is improving step by step ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup. In such a situation, there will be pressure on other wicket-keeper batsmen and the maximum pressure will be on Rishabh Pant.
Pant was able to score 58 runs in five innings, but head coach Dravid says that Pant is an important part of our plans before the T20 World Cup. Personally, he would have liked to score a few more runs, but his form is not a concern for us.
Team India’s head coach Rahul Dravid said- It was really good to see that Karthik played the role he was selected for. This gives us a lot of options. He was picked for his exceptional performance in the last two or three years (in the IPL) and he played such an innings in the series, especially in Rajkot.
According to Dravid, Karthik and Hardik Pandya are the two batsmen who can change the equation of the match in the death overs. “We needed such big performances in the last five overs to get a good score and Karthik and Hardik batted very well. Both are our main strengths in the last over.
Karthik has scored 252 runs at an average of 42.00 in 16 matches in T20 Internationals at the sixth order, including his first half-century of his career. At the seventh order, he has scored 110 runs in five matches. Hardik contributed significantly to Gujarat Titans winning the title as captain and as an all-rounder. He played at number three and four for the Titans, scoring more than 30 runs in three out of four innings. His strike rate against South Africa was 153.94. His economy rate with the ball was 12.20.
Dravid said, ‘As you get closer to the competition, you want to be sure of your final team. There are possibilities of sudden changes in the kind of world you live in today. You will go to the World Cup with 15 players but it is important to identify 18 to 20 top players.
Lokesh Rahul did not play in this series due to injury. Rohit Sharma was resting in the series. Ishaan Kishan and Rituraj Gaikwad did the opening. Ishan Kishan scored the highest 206 runs at an average of 41 with a strike rate of 150.36. Gaikwad scored a total of 96 runs in which 57 were in an innings. As a backup or reserve opener, he has the upper hand. He can be preferred as a left-handed batsman anyway.
In Bumrah’s absence, Bhuvneshwar Kumar took charge of the Indian pace attack. He conceded 43 runs in the first match but in subsequent matches conceded less than six runs per over and took six wickets, which was the second best performance of the series. His overall economy rate was 6.07, which is the best among bowlers who have bowled more than five overs in the series.
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