Dinesh Karthik has been in outstanding form as a finisher for Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, amassing 226 runs in 7 matches at an impressive strike rate of 205.45. Despite not regularly participating in competitive cricket after falling out of favour with senior national team selectors, Karthik has emerged as one of the most exceptional finishers, if not the finest, in the current season. His pivotal cameo of 28 runs off ten balls was instrumental in securing RCB’s sole victory of the season, while his remarkable innings of 83 runs off 35 balls at the Chinnaswamy Stadium against SRH ultimately became one of the finest knocks of IPL 2024 so far.

With the T20 World Cup looming on the horizon, Karthik’s scintillating form positions him as a prime contender for selection in cricket’s premier T20 tournament. Numerous former cricketers, cricket experts, and commentators have weighed in on Karthik’s prospects of featuring in the World Cup. Recently, Irfan Pathan, while talking to Star Sports, added his voice to the discussion, sharing his insights on the matter.

Irfan Pathan shares his take

Backing Rishabh Pant over Karthik for a place in the T20 World Cup 2024, former Indian fast bowler Irfan emphasized that the seasoned RCB wicketkeeper-batter has already had his fair share of opportunities with the senior national team. He commended Pant for seizing his opportunities upon his return to the IPL after a prolonged injury absence.

“Indian cricket has tried Dinesh Karthik before. But it didn’t work for them. So, I think they have the right guy at the moment, who is in form, as far as the wicketkeeping is concerned and as far as middle-order is concerned. I think selectors will be on the same page. They would want to take someone like Rishabh Pant rather than thinking about Dinesh Karthik. He had his fair share of chances when it comes to playing for India. Unfortunately, in the last T20 World Cup, he did not do that great whenever he got the opportunity. I think Rishabh Pant is the guy whom you should take to the World Cup,” said Irfan on Star Sports.

“After a long injury layoff, coming back, leading a side, wicketkeeping, batting in difficult situations. Great news for Indian cricket. he is a match-winner. His white-ball cricket has actually gotten better. His Test cricket was always up there,” he added.

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Tough call of the selectors

Continuing the discussion on the upcoming World Cup, Irfan emphasized the challenges faced by selectors in finalizing the squad. He highlighted the dilemma surrounding the second wicketkeeper’s role, acknowledging Sanju Samson’s impressive batting performances but noting his tendency to bat higher up the order. Irfan questioned the suitability of this arrangement and suggested that a wicketkeeper who specializes in finishing innings could be preferred. While acknowledging the good form of Ishan Kishan and Samson, he pointed out the selection congestion. Additionally, he proposed considering KL Rahul as a viable option if he were to bat lower in the order.

“The second wicketkeeper’s slot is going to give the selectors a lot of headaches. Yes, Sanju Samson is batting well, but he is batting higher up the order. Do you want that? You might want a wicketkeeper who is actually batting down the order, in a finishing role. Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are in good form. But there’s a traffic jam. If KL Rahul bats down the order, he might not be a bad choice,” the 39-year-old concluded.

Also READ: Breakdown of Dinesh Karthik’s IPL salary since debut

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