Mumbai, April 15: Dinesh Karthik was picked ahead of Rishabh Pant in India's 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2019, beginning on May 30 in England. Chief selector MSK Prasad said on Monday that Karthik was preferred over Pant because of experience as a wicketkeeper and the selectors have also noticed how calmly the former batted under pressure.
"Wicketkeeping also matters. That is the reason why we went with Dinesh Karthik otherwise Rishabh Pant was also there. Karthik is just a back-up for Mahi, and will come into the team if Mahi suffers any injury," MSK Prasad said after the team announcement press conference in Mumbai.
While captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri backed Ambati Rayudu for the crucial No 4 position after last year's IPL, he has not been able to produce consistent efforts and has resulted in him facing the axe in favour of KL Rahul and Vijay Shankar's versatility. Rahul has been in good form for Kings XI Punjab this IPL season.
"After the Champions Trophy (2017), we have tried quite a few middle-order batsmen, which also included Karthik, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey. We did give a few more chances to Rayudu but Vijay Shankar gives three dimensions. He can bat, if the conditions are overcast he can bowl, plus he is a fielder. We are looking at Vijay Shankar as a No 4. Now, we have plenty of options for that slot," he said.
On KL Rahul's role in the side, Prasad said: "To begin with, he will only be a reserve opener, but if the team management needs, he can bat in the middle order too."