Karthik, Pant need more game time before World Cup, but we can only play 11 players: Rohit Sharma

By B. Shrikant

Hyderabad, Sep 26 (IANS) When the national selectors picked up both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant in the squad for the three-T20I series against Australia, the idea was to test the two wicketkeepers as finishers and also to explore the possibility of playing them together -- Pant as the floating batter and Karthik as the finisher.

However, skipper Rohit Sharma admitted that both of them did not get enough time -- especially Karthik -- and both of them need more game time.

Sharma also said that selecting the right-handed Karthik or the left-handed Pant in the playing XI or picking both of them will depend of the situation the team finds itself in.

"It depends on the situation. I obviously wanted these guys to have a number of games under their belt before the World Cup. When we went to the Asia Cup, both these guys were in the fray to play all the games or whenever there is an opportunity or if there is a tactical matchup, we can bring in those guys. But I just feel that Dinesh needs a little more game time, so does Pant.

"Honestly speaking Pant needs some game time as well. But looking at how this series was important for me to just stick to that consistent batting lineup," said Sharma during the post-match press conference after India defeated Australia by six wickets in the third T20I here on Sunday to win the series 2-1.

Karthik was picked for all three matches against Australia but did not get enough time to bat. He faced five balls in the first match at Mohali and scored six runs. He faced two balls in the second T20I in Nagpur and blasted a six and four to seal victory for India.

In the third match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium at Uppal here, the 37-year-old from Tamil Nadu faced only 1 ball and remained not out with one run.

Sharma said they are flexible in their approach to batting and will take a call on whom to play depending on the situation.

"We have said that we want to be flexible in our batting, so if the situation or if the thing demands that we need a left-hander, we will bring in a left-hander, if we need a right-hand, we will continue to do that. But I still feel Dinesh in this series hardly got to bat maybe just three balls, so that's not enough time.

"But we will try and manage those guys pretty carefully. I do understand they need game time before the World Cup but there are only 11 players you can play, unfortunately so we just have to look after everyone," the skipper added.



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Title: Karthik, Pant need more game time before World Cup, but we can only play 11 players: Rohit Sharma

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