Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, India, ICC World Cup 2019, World Cup
The 33-year-old Karthik, who made his ODI debut in 2004 and has played 91 matches for India in the format, has displayed his versatility of batting anywhere in the line-up. @ AFP/Getty Images

Rishabh Pant’s omission from India’s 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2019 stirred a raging debate with many questioning the experienced Dinesh Karthik’s credentials as the second-choice wicketkeeper to MS Dhoni at the quadrennial event. Captain Virat Kohli has broken his silence on the much-debated issue and said that Karthik’s exposure and composure in pressure situations helped in pip the young Pant.

“In pressure situations, he’s shown composure. It was something that everybody on board was convinced about,” Kohli told the Times of India on Wednesday.

“He has the experience. If, god forbid, something happens to MS (Dhoni), Karthik can be immensely valuable behind the wickets. As a finisher, he’s done well.”

India has time till May 23 to make any last minute changes to their squad and many in the fraternity reckon believe the Men in Blue will miss the 21-year-old in the event at England which gets underway on May 30. “So, it was the overall exposure to a tournament of this magnitude that was taken into primary consideration,” Kohli said. (ALSO READ: ‘Rishabh Pant is this generation’s Virender Sehwag’)

The 33-year-old Karthik, who made his ODI debut in 2004 and has played 91 matches for India in the format, has displayed his versatility of batting anywhere in the line-up.

“We can very well imagine there’s more than an opinion in place that some capable guys have missed out,” India coach Ravi Shastri added.

“Heart goes out to them. Picking 15 from an immensely talented pool is never easy. I’d say to these guys: Keep going the way you have. Be prepared, in case there’s an unforeseen requirement that pops up.”

India boasts of a potent pace bowling attack led by Jasprit Bumrah, who will assisted by Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with both known for their ability to swing the ball both ways. “The one common factor binding these guys is confidence,” Kohli said. (ALSO READ: MS Dhoni gives me the freedom to do my thing – Virat Kohli)

“They all believe that they can be the best. There’s no set rule for anything – like Indian spinners have to be the best in the world, the best batsmen or whatever. The thing is, if you believe it, you can achieve it.”

India begin their bid for a third World Cup title against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.