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Dinesh Karthik debate, role of Vijay Shankar – Major talking points from India’s squads vs Australia

The Australia series will be India's last before the World Cup.

Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik celebrates with MS Dhoni. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Virat Kohli is back in the Indian team, so is KL Rahul, Vijay Shankar gets an extended run, bowlers are being rotated, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s promise is being factored in, and amidst all the hullabaloo, Dinesh Karthik has been dropped.

“Prior to this, we had series in New Zealand and Australia, where Karthik was chosen because Rishabh played four Test matches,” chief selector MSK Prasad said. “So we wanted him (Pant) to get a good break, so he had a 20 days’ break, and he played a couple of one-day matches against England Lions, in which he did extremely well. Then we sent him to the T20 matches (in New Zealand). So we want to give him a few ODIs also before taking a final call.”

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We now try to make sense of this squad:

What about Dinesh Karthik?

He was the calm head in India’s middle order and had the ability to play strokes from ball 1, he was the finisher who could press on the accelerator and as MS Dhoni dropped anchor, Karthik was the man who was being the perfect aggressor. However, he is now axed and the more lucrative option of Rishabh Pant has been given the nod.

There is nothing against Pant, he has the talent and deserves an extended rope, but if the selectors want the experience of Dhoni in the middle overs in crunch situations in the World Cup, the axe to Dinesh Karthik, another senior head, is flummoxing. He remains in contention, said the chief selector, but with India playing their final ODI series before the World Cup, the only hope for Karthik is a bumper season in the IPL.

Kuldeep rested, why not Yuzvendra Chahal?

Yuzvendra Chahal has been the preferred option for India in almost the matches and he kept getting the nod over Kuldeep Yadav in New Zealand. And now Kuldeep will sit out of the T20I series and Mayank Markande will feature in the side. With Chahal already being a preferred option, two leggies in the playing XI is slightly odd.

Also, Chahal has been playing non-stop and with the IPL coming up, a rest would have been preferred. The selectors could have looked elsewhere for the T20I series and rewarded other young spinners who have been quite brilliant in the Ranji season.

Vijay Shankar is racing ahead

Well, there was an opportunity, and there was the occasion and Vijay Shankar rose to the occasion and grabbed the opportunity. He was the replacement in India’s ODI squad in Australia and New Zealand and now is the second all-rounder in the squad. Hardik Pandya remains the first choice and hence, this series could be a chance for Shankar to nail his spot as the second all-rounder or a formidable batsman in the squad for the World Cup.

He is a gun fielder and captain Kohli should use him more often with the ball to test his steel. Another happy headache for India and the management and this one is just what should hold the team in good stead.

Is the Khaleel experiment over?

There was a lot of noise around the inclusion of Khaleel Ahmed as the Indian management wanted a left-arm seamer in their ranks. But the young man did not have an entirely blistering run with the side and hence, he loses out. Although, MSK Prasad says that they now want to test out Siddarth Kaul as they know what Khaleel can do.

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