NEW DELHI: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar Monday said he is surprised at young glovesman Rishabh Pant’s exclusion from India’s World Cup squad given his “exceptionally” good batting form and “great” improvement in wicket-keeping skills.
The 33-year-old Dinesh Karthik pipped Pant in the fight for the second wicketkeeper’s slot in India’s 15-strong squad for the World Cup, starting May 30 in England. Gavaskar said the move is surprising but backed Karthik as a better wicketkeeper.
“A bit surprised, looking at his (Pant’s) form. He was batting exceptionally well, not only in the IPL but before that also. He was showing great improvement his wicket-keeping as well. He brings that left-handed option in the top-six which is very handy against the bowlers,” gavaskar told ‘India Today’.
“The bowlers have to change their line (for a left-hander) and the captains have to do a lot of field arrangements.
Pant has so far scored 245 runs in the ongoing IPL, compared to Karthik’s 111.
Karthik was chosen over Pant despite an indifferent IPL campaign with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Gavaskar said there was some merit in the move.
“On a morning when say, MSD (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) has a flu and can’t play, you want somebody who is a better wicket-keeper. I think Karthik’s wicket-keeping skills, more than anything, have won him this place,” Gavaskar said.