Veteran Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik on Sunday picked the toughest slot which is up for grabs in India’s T20I setup, admitting that participants only get a few opportunities to showcase their talent amid the presence of arguably two of the best cricketers at the moment.
Karthik talked about the position of back-up opener to the present and “solid” pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma, who had stitched an impressive 117-run stand in the second T20I against New Zealand, their fifth consecutive fifty-plus partnership in the format. India rested Rahul for the third game and picked Ishan Kishan as their opener.
Naming as many as five options and admitting that there are a few more, Karthik opined that the youngster has been in good form having scored well in the last few games for Mumbai Indians and in the practice game for India ahead of the T20 World Cup, although he got only one opportunity in the tournament.
“That time will tell. Among all those slots that are up for grabs, the toughest spot in the third opener. There are some terrific names. People all the way from Shikhar Dhawan, Rituraj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Venkatesh Iyer, Ishan Kishan, I can throw you a few more names. That’s the strength of Indian cricket and the beauty is we have two solid openers, arguably two of the world’s best.
“Whoever comes in either has to fit themselves in at No.3, but Virat Kohli will again return and reclaim it. So the only chance is being a back-up opener. Ishan Kishan in all fairness has done a fabulous job in the last couple of matches for Mumbai Indians and in the practice matches although he did not get opportunities in the T20 World Cup. So he has been in good nick.
“The problem with the third opener is that you get only one opportunity. After this we don’t even know when the next series will be. By that time, some other guy comes and scores because he played a few good domestic matches. That’s the headache of being an Indian cricketer. You have to be consistently performing,” he told Cricbuzz.
India picked as many five openers for the T20I series against New Zealand which included Rahul and Rohit. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Venkatesh Iyer are the two others besides Kishan, although they slotted in the Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder at No.5, the position where Hardik Pandya batted.
Talking about Ishan, he, along with Rohit got India off to a blistering start in Kolkata on Sunday stitching India’s fastest 50-run stand in the series. He scored 29 off 21, laced with six boundaries, to add 69 runs to the board for the opening stand before being dismissed by Mitchell Santner.