Dinesh Karthik © Getty Images
Dinesh Karthik © Getty Images

Ahead of ICC Champions Troph 2017, India batsman Manish Pandey sustained a strain on the left side during a practise session for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. This means, he will not be a part of Qualifier 2 against Mumbai Indians, on Friday. Though Pandey’s injury might be a setback for India, it came as a blessing for Dinesh Karthik. A BCCI press release said: “The All-India Senior Selection Committee have named middle-order batsman and wicketkeeper Karthik as the replacement for Pandey.”

Karthik’s selection should not be come as a surprise, given he was the best batsman in the last edition of Vijay Hazare Trophy 2016-17, which had taken place earlier this year. Karthik scored total of 607 runs from 9 innings at 86.71, with an impressive strike-rate of 102.01. It also includes two centuries and four fifties as well. Karthik’s dominant batting helped Tamil Nadu clinch the title beating Bengal by 37 runs in the final of the tournament. With the win, Tamil Nadu became the first team to win all BCCI domestic tournaments.

Karthik has represented India across formats since for over a decade. He has played 23 Tests, 71 ODIs and 9 T20Is. He has amassed 1,000 runs in Tests, 1,313 in ODIs and 100 in T20Is. Karthik’s inclusion will boost the middle-order. In addition, his exceptional fielding will help India save runs in the outfield. However, if MS Dhoni sustains an injury, Karthik’s wicketkeeping skills will be used to good effect.