The T20 World Cup is still six months away, but rest assured, the Indian selectors at the back of their mind are aware of what the core team is going to look like. The likes of Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are obvious contenders, but at the same time several other spots are up for grabs. Who will be the third and reserve pacers, how many spinners will board the flight to Australia and who all comprise the all-important middle order? These are questions that will be answered in due time.
That, however, does not stop experts and former cricketers from jumping to their own permutations and combinations. Besides, the aforementioned positions, another area that garners a lot of public interest is that of the wicketkeeper slot. Between Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik, the management and selectors will have a big decision to take. Pant has established himself as a regular in the Indian team across formats but he hasn’t really set the IPL ablaze. Neither has the young and promising Ishan, whereas Karthik’s career has received a second wind thanks to his exploits in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Despite stiff competition between the three, Ravi Shastri is certain and has no doubts as to who his pick is going to be as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper between the three. “Just his track record in Australia… given what he has done there, I won’t even think of anyone else except Rishabh Pant,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo.
As far as Ishan and Karthik go, the former India all-rounder gave interesting answers. For Ishan, Shastri reckons that while he may be a candidate as opener in Indian conditions, the 23-year-old youngster could fall behind in the pecking order considering the testing nature of pitches in Australia. Having said that Shastri was certain that Karthik would be the second-choice keeper behind Pant and would serve the role of a finisher in the team.
“At No. 6… he (Dinesh Karthik) is the second pick. Because Rishabh Pant will bat in the middle order. Now Ishan Kishan comes more in conditions like in India… if you need him at the top of the order to attack, then he could be the man. But in conditions that exist in Australia where you need a finisher at the back, batting at No.6, then on current form, he would be the second keeper. If you see his form now and his maturity and the way he has been finishing games, then you go on the current form,” pointed out Shastri.