Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has expressed surprise over the omission of Rishabh Pant from the 15-man India squad named by the selectors on Monday (April 15) for the World Cup. He credited Pant for “exceptionally” good batting form and “great” improvement in wicket-keeping skills and yet missing out in favour of Dinesh Karthik.
Dinesh Karthik pipped Pant in the fight for the second wicketkeeper’s slot – behind MS Dhoni – in India’s squad. Gavaskar said the move is surprising but backed Karthik as the better wicketkeeper. The selectors also justified the choice based on DK’s better keeping skills.
“A bit surprised, looking at his (Pant’s) form. He was batting exceptionally well, not only in the IPL but before that also. He was showing great improvement his wicket-keeping as well. He brings that left-handed option in the top-six which is very handy against the bowlers,” Gavaskar said on India Today. “The bowlers have to change their line (for a left-hander) and the captains have to do a lot of field arrangements.”
In the ongoing IPL, Pant has scored 245 runs compared to Karthik’s 111. Despite the indifferent IPL campaign with the KKR, Karthik has been included and Gavaskar reckons there was some merit in the move.
“On a morning when say, MSD (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) has a flu and can’t play, you want somebody who is a better wicket-keeper. I think Karthik’s wicket-keeping skills, more than anything, have won him this place,” Gavaskar said.
Gavaskar said all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who made it to the squad for his “three-dimensional qualities”, will be extremely handy for the team.
“He is a cricketer who has improved over the last one year. He has grown in confidence. Shankar is a very useful cricketer. He is a very very good batsman, handy bowler, and an outstanding fielder,” the batting great explained.