File photo of Gautam Gambhir© AFP
Ahead of the India-Pakistan match at the Asia Cup 2022, skipper Rohit Sharma sprung a surprise at the toss as he announced Rishabh Pant was not part of the Indian playing XI. Instead, the Indian team management went ahead with the veteran Dinesh Karthik. Over the last one year, Karthik has excelled in the finisher’s role. He has performed consistently well for his franchise too in the Indian Premier League. Pant, on the other hand, has been as the first-choice wicketkeeper for quite some time now.
However, Gautam Gambhir said that consistency in playing XI was needed with the 2022 T20 World Cup in two months’ time.
“I won’t experiment from now on because how many games do we have… this Asia Cup? And then you’ve got what… five more games, six more games and then the World Cup. From now on, you want a settled Playing XI. Yes, you can have your backups as well but that is the way I would have wanted. It is a bit of a surprise because Rishabh Pant has been an X-factor,” Gambhir said on Star Sports.
“You need a left-handed in the middle order. India have a lot of right-handers there, which is one-dimensional. And he has done reasonably well. He can be someone who can open the game for you and he can be a floater as well. A bit surprising but I hope it is not long-term. I will still back Rishabh Pant ahead of Dinesh Karthik. It’s a massive surprise.”
India skipper Rohit acknowledged at the toss that dropping Pant was a hard decision to take. “It was a tough call we had to take between playing Dinesh and Rishabh, Rishabh sadly misses out. And Avesh makes it as the third seamer,” he said.
“This is an important game for us, but as cricketers we don’t want to think about the opposition, we just want to correct whatever mistakes we are doing.”
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