India’s chief coach Rahul Dravid has said that Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya could be key cogs in the country’s campaign at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, saying that “both of them are our enforcers” as the side looks to bounce back from last year’s disappointment and win the mega event in 2022.
Karthik and Pandya both put up encouraging performances in the five-match T20I series against South Africa, with the former delivering a match-defining half-century in Rajkot to help the hosts tie the series at 2-2.
On Sunday, the fifth and final game in Bengaluru was rained out.
“He (Karthik) was chosen for a very specific skill, and he was chosen for that basis on what he has done exceptionally well over the last two or three years,” Dravid said after the match on Sunday.
“It almost came together perfectly for us in the game at Rajkot, when we needed a great performance in the last five overs to make a par score.”
“He (Karthik) and Hardik (Pandya) batted well for us, and both of them are our enforcers at the end, men who can capitalise on the final five or six overs like no one else. It was great to see Karthik go off and achieve what he was chosen for, and it certainly gives us a lot more possibilities in the future. With innings like that (in Rajkot), he’s surely banging on the door “Dravid added to the conversation.
Despite the fact that the 20-over showcase does not begin for another three months, India still has a number of hurdles to work out as they finalise their 15-player roster for this year’s tournament.
With Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and KL Rahul resting or injured for the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa, a number of periphery players were given the opportunity to shine throughout the five-match series.
According to the ICC, those four players are almost guaranteed to be included in India’s team that will go to Australia for the four-week competition in early October. However, several positions in the rest of India’s touring party appear to be vacant.
Between now and the start of the tournament on October 16, India will play at least 13 T20Is, with matches against Ireland (two), England (three), West Indies (five), and Australia (three) scheduled.
And Dravid wants his fringe players to shine in those warm-up games in order to solidify their case for selection. “I told the lads they had to slam the door down,” Dravid explained.
It isn’t enough to just knock; they must begin pounding on the door. We’ll start working on finalising that squad as soon as feasible. It’s difficult to say whether it will happen in the next series or the one after that, but we’re hoping to do it as soon as feasible.”
Dravid stated that he is beginning to build an image in his mind on how he wants his touring band to look. “As events approach, you want to be able to finalise your final squad as early as possible,” he said, adding, “We can only take 15 to the World Cup, but you want to have your top 18 or 20 players (selected) and that you are clear on that and what type of squad you want to send to the World Cup.”