When India played Australia in the first T20I on Tuesday in Mohali, Rishabh Pant’s position remained unchanged. Rohit Sharma stuck with Dinesh Karthik instead of Pant, whose position in India’s T20I lineup has been a divisive one. Karthik was struck out LBW by Nathan Ellis and was dismissed for 6 off 5 balls, which was not the outcome India had hoped for. With his last four innings totaling 7, 6, and 1 not out, Karthik’s recent run of low T20I scores continues.
In India’s competition for the wicketkeeper position, Karthik and Pant have been in the spotlight. During the Asia Cup, they were alternately used, but neither hitter received a long at-bat. Although both have been selected for India’s T20 World Cup team, it appears that Karthik may have the tiny advantage due to managerial bias. Matthew Hayden, a former Australia opener, disagrees with it though and maintains that Pant is a necessity for India in all three forms, regardless of the situation.
During the first T20I against Australia, Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden said during commentating that, “Rishabh Pant would be picked in every side if I was the selector. He is just the future. He needs to be backed and needs time. Even if it’s through runs or form, he should be there in my opinion. He is a superior player in pretty much every way and aspect,” Hayden said on air during the 1st T20I.”
Commenting on Australia’s Playing XI, whose standout moment was Tim David’s debut, Hayden singled out Josh Inglis for praise, comparing him to David Warner, and urging other young players to fill the void left by Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, and Mitchell Marsh.
He said, “They are a depleted side but the reality of it is that they have got to dig deep. We have got to look towards what is next in the line-up. Young Inglis is such an exciting and young player. He is almost like a mirror-image of David Warner. He is a right-handed version. He cuts, he pulls, he lays back and when it comes his way, he hits it through the on-side. He is also a very good powerful player.”