Ravi Shastri Picks the ‘Finisher’ for Team India in T20 WC 2022 says, ‘Need a Keeper Who’ll do MS Dhoni’s Role’

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Modified Jun 5, 2022 10:10 AM IST

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Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik returned to the Indian T20 set-up after a hiatus of more than three years. He found himself in the squad for the upcoming bilateral series against South Africa at home, which begins on June 9 in Delhi. Karthik earned this call-up following an impeccable season for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2022. The 37-year-old scored 330 runs from 16 encounters, batting at a strike rate of 183.33. One more aspect which was majorly noticed in the season was his finishing skills. The way he batted in death overs probably impressed the selectors to be named in the 18-man squad.

Ravi Shastri explains how both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant can make it  to India's World Cup team
Credits: Times Now

Giving his opinion on Karthik’s comeback, former India head coach Ravi Shastri said the upcoming T20Is against South Africa is a great opportunity for the wicketkeeper-batter to cement his place in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia. “This is his opportunity. If and when he gets an opportunity in these games, he has to do it with India colours on. We know he has got the experience, so this becomes extremely vital,” Shastri told Star Sports. Since Rishabh Pant would be the first-choice wicketkeeper for the upcoming mega ICC event, it would be seen how Karthik gets accommodated in the final XI. However, Shastri believes that the veteran cricketer can fill in MS Dhoni’s shoes as the finisher.

“You have to see from the team’s point of view, what are they looking for? Do they want a keeper who will bat at the top of the order or do they want a keeper who will be the finisher? I will go for the latter. You need a keeper who will do MS Dhoni’s role, let’s put it that way. MS Dhoni retired from International cricket in 2020, and the Indian team is yet to find an able replacement finisher for him. But the recent form of the 37-year-old Dinesh Karthik suggests that he might be ready to fill those massive boots.

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Ravi Shastri backs Dinesh Karthik as India’s finisher

Former Indian coach Ravi Shastri also batted for Karthik to be the finisher for the Indian team heading into the T20 World Cup. The wicketkeeper batter made his debut for India in 2004 and was the hero of India’s first T20I win in 2006. Karthik’s time was limited with the national side due to the presence of one of the greatest finishers of the game in MS Dhoni. But the veteran batter has come into his own in recent times. His role for RCB in the recently concluded IPL was similar to that of Dhoni’s, as he donned the role of finisher for his side.

Ravi Shastri: Great to have MS Dhoni on board, says Ravi Shastri | Cricket  News - Times of India
Credits: TOI

Karthik has been rewarded a call-up to the national team after scoring 330 runs in 16 matches with an amazing strike rate of 183.33. “There is already Rishabh Pant who can bat in the top four or five in T20 cricket but you want someone who can keep and finish a game because they aren’t too many finishers now with MS (Dhoni) having quit. So, I think that’s where his chances are very very good,” he added. Although India has already got a mercurial wicketkeeper batter in Rishabh Pant, Shastri believes that the southpaw is more suited to batting up the order. He picked Karthik to do the job as a finisher, something Dhoni did for a long time.

“You have to see from the team’s point of view, what are they looking for? Do they want a keeper who will bat at the top of the order or do they want a keeper who will be the finisher? I will go for the latter. You need a keeper who will do MS Dhoni’s role, let’s put it that way. There is already Rishabh Pant who can bat in the top four or five in T20 cricket, but you want someone who can keep and finish a game because there aren’t too many finishers now with MS (Dhoni) having quit. So, I think that’s where his chances are very very good,” he added.