Pant or DK? Irfan names his choice as he picks India's ideal T20 WC XI Photograph:( AFP )
Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan picked his ideal India XI for the 2022 T20 World Cup, naming Dinesh Karthik over Rishabh Pant.
India and South Africa were involved in a closely-fought five-match T20I series in the former's own backyard, which ended tamely with the fifth and final encounter being abandoned on Sunday (June 19). Due to persistent rain in Bengaluru, the final match of the series led to a no-result, however, Rishabh Pant-led Men in Blue had a lot of takeaways from the series.
The return and form of Dinesh Karthik, who made a comeback in the Team India setup after almost three years, made heads turn. DK returned with a tough 21-ball 30* in the second T20I and was the Player-of-the-Match in the fourth and final encounter, in Rajkot, which helped India level the series 2-2 before the final game resulted in no winner. Thus, calls have intensified for him to be a part of Rohit Sharma-led India's 2022 T20 World Cup squad.
DK had a splendid IPL 2022 season as well, returning with 330 runs at a strike rate of 183.33. Thus, he carried his form for India whereas Rishabh Pant fell flat with the bat in the SA series, ending with scores of 29, 5, 6, 17 and 1*. He had a decent IPL 15, scoring 340 runs at 151.78 but hardly made match-winning contributions, unlike DK.
Thus, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan -- who was part of MS Dhoni-led India's victorious 2007 T20 World Cup squad and ended as the Player-of-the-Match in the finale -- picked his ideal XI for Rohit & Co., naming DK over Pant.
Speaking to Star Sports, Pathan picked star batters KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the top 3 of his World Cup playing XI. “In Australia, you need powerful starts because the ball swings and seams a lot. So you need a player who has a lot of experience,” Pathan said. "Kohli may not have performed well so far but in Australia, he has scored a lot of runs,” he added.
Further, after picking the likes of Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya, Irfan chose DK over Pant and mentioned his all-rounders in Ravindra Jadeja, Harshal Patel (who can bat a bit) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar before ending his XI with Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah.
Irfan Pathan's India XI for 2022 T20 World Cup: KL Rahul, (C) Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah.