ICC Champions Trophy 2013: Dinesh Karthik deserves to play against South Africa, says Sunil Gavaskar

Dinesh Karthik (R) scored two back-to-back centuries in the warm-up matches of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 © AFP

New Delhi: Jun 5, 2013

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Wednesday said that wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has “done enough” in the two practice matches to earn his place in the playing XI against South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in Cardiff on Thursday.

“He (Dinesh Karthik) has to play on Thursday. He has rescued India twice in the practice matches. He has been in good form and has done enough to make his place in the side,” Gavaskar said.

Despite Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay failing to impress in the games against Sri Lanka and Australia, Gavaskar felt India should still go with regular openers against a strong South African bowling line-up.

“I don’t think India would want to unsettle their opening pair. They might have struggled in the practice matches but still they would require regular openers in seaming English conditions,” Gavaskar said.

“Openers will be crucial for the team. India will looking for a solid start from their openers. A good start will make things easier for the middle order batsmen,” he told NDTV.

With doubts over fitness of Dale Steyn for Thursday’s match, Gavaskar said the absence of South African tearaway pacer will be a huge advantage for India.

“South Africa will be missing Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis plus fitness concerns of Dale Steyn would be a big problem for them. If Steyn is not playing on Thursday, it will be a huge advantage for India and they must capitalise on it,” he said.

Gavaskar feels it’s a blessing in disguise for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men that they are playing outside India, away from the “noise” at home due to spot-fixing scandal.

“The fact they are out of India is blessing in disguise for the team. With so much noise in India, playing away from home is a huge plus,” he said.