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Dinesh Karthik can be used in whatever way India want him at World Cup: Abhishek Nayar

"He can play a Kedar Jadhav finisher’s role."

Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The selection of experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik for the Indian squad that will compete in the ICC World Cup starting next month has caused divided opinions. While those close to Karthik have welcomed the decision, there are others who are feeling dejected with Rishabh Pant’s exclusion. However, Karthik’s mentor Abhishek Nayar is happy with how things have turned out.

On Monday, the Indian selection committee led by MSK Prasad came up with the squad of 15 that will represent India at the WC and the Karthik-Pant debate was settled in favour of the former with Prasad saying Karthik made the cut owing to better wicket-keeping skills. However, although Karthik has been picked as the second keeper in the team after MS Dhoni, Nayar feels the 33-year-old can be used for a lot of purposes – as an opener or a finisher or even as a specialist batsman at No.4.

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India though picked Vijay Shankar for the No.4 position, something over which they have burnt a lot of midnight oil, Nayar feels his friend Karthik could be India’s answer to the key position in the batting order.

“He can play a Kedar Jadhav finisher’s role to a No 4 batsman’s role if needed. He can even open if needed,” Sportstar cited reports quoting Nayar, who is credited for resurrecting Karthik’s career, as saying.

“Being a good fielder adds that value. Of course, he’s backup wicketkeeper, but I’m pretty sure that the management will look at him as a specialist batsman if someone is slightly out of form.”

Karthik paid Nayar gratitude after making the WC squad

Nayar is also the mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), the Indian Premier League franchise that Karthik captains. Though he could not be with his old friend on the selection day the latter did not forget to pay him his “gratitude”.

“He was full of gratitude and spoke about the time when we got together three years ago. We were thinking about those days, not knowing where his career was going. So now being part of the World Cup is really special for someone like him,” Nayar added.

In 2016, Karthik sought the help of Nayar after failing to score enough runs and from thereon, the story of the turnaround started. This is only the second time that Karthik has made a WC squad though India’s quick exit from the tournament in the previous one (2007) saw him failing to get a game.

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