India’s team for the World Cup 2019 is all set barring the one or two spots as mentioned by head coach Ravi Shastri after their biggest series against the Blackcaps on New Zealand soil.
The same team will be largely expected in the forthcoming home ODI series against Australia in late February with India finally looking to confirm their World Cup squad.
Among the few spots India still need to fill after their victorious campaign Down Under in the ODI format, one place that is still left is that of a reserve opener. KL Rahul was been given a run for the spot in the build-up to the World Cup 2019, but his numbers remained poor in the little opportunity he got in the presence of a formidable Indian opening pair.
Shubman Gill was then tried out as Rahul’s replacement in the New Zealand series (at number 3), but he failed to impress the selectors.
After the fifth ODI win in Wellington against New Zealand, former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar picked Dinesh Karthik as reserve opener in India’s ODI setup for World Cup.
Rahul played only three ODI matches in 2018 and managed to score only 69 runs which included a duck against England. In 2019, after returning to action following the off-field controversy, he scored 55 runs for India A in three games which also included a duck. In fact, numbers reveal that in his last 12 innings, Rahul has scored only one half-century.
Young Shubman was announced as Rahul’s replacement after he was suspended for ‘Koffee With Karan’ controversy. Making his debut in the fourth ODI against New Zealand in absence of skipper Virat Kohli, Shubman managed a nervy nine off 21 deliveries. And in the last ODI, he scored seven off 11. In both the innings, he managed only a solitary boundary and failed to show the promise the build-up surrounding his debut.
After the match, legendary Sunil Gavaskar, in conversation with Mayanti Langer, revealed that he would like to see Karthik as India’s reserve opener for World Cup. He earlier mentioned the name of Rishabh Pant for the Australia home series and on adding Karthik name for the aforementioned spot, Gavaskar said, “If the team has three wicketkeepers, so be it.”
Karthik scored only 38 runs in two innings in the series, while impressing the selectors and cricket fraternity with his finishing skills in Australia and New Zealand.