India wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik with skipper Rohit Sharma
India wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik with skipper Rohit Sharma

Karthik needs game time before World Cup: Rohit

Experienced wicketkeeper-batter faced only eight balls in the Australia series

HYDERABAD: India captain Rohit Sharma wants to give experienced wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik more time in the middle before the team heads Down Under for the T20 World Cup starting next month.

India has been using Karthik and Rishabh Pant alternatively in the playing eleven. While Pant got the nod in the Asia Cup in the UAE, Karthik was picked for all three matches in the home series against Australia. India is scheduled to play three T20Is against South Africa at home, before it boards the plane to Australia for the marquee event.

“I wanted both the guys to have a number of matches under their belt before the World Cup. When we went to the Asia Cup, both of them were in the fray to play all the games,” said Rohit on Sunday.

“But, I just feel that Dinesh needs a little more game time. He hardly got to bat [in the Australia series], may be just three balls. So, that is not enough,” added Rohit. While Karthik faced only eight balls, Pant did not bat in the only match he played against Aaron Finch’s men. Interestingly, in the series opener, all-rounder Axar Patel was sent ahead of Karthik.

“Obviously, Pant also needs game time. But, looking at how the series was, it was important for me to just stick to a consistent batting line-up.”

Rohit also said that the inclusion of Karthik and/or Pant in the three-match South Africa series – starting Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram – would depend on the situation. “I do not know what we are going to do. We just need to go and see its bowling… what sort of bowling line-up it will play with… who are the best guys in our team that can handle it.

“It all depends on that. We want to be flexible with our batting. So, if a situation demands a left-hander, we will bring in a left-hander… if a right-hander is needed, we will do that. But, we will try and manage those guys pretty carefully. I do understand that they need game time, but unfortunately, only 11 can play,” added Rohit.

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