Karthik replaces injured Manish Pandey for Champions Trophy

221
Karthik had last played in India colours in the Asia Cup contest against Afghanistan in 2014. © Getty

Injured Manish Pandey has been replaced by Dinesh Karthik in India’s 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy, stated a BCCI media release on Thursday (May 18).

Pandey suffered a side strain during the Kolkata Knight Riders’ practice session on the eve of their IPL 2017 Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Pandey last featured for India in the 2nd T20I against England in January earlier this year, which the hosts won by five runs. His last ODI was during the five-match series at home against New Zealand, which India won 3-2.

The Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik had last played in India colours in the Asia Cup contest against Afghanistan in 2014. Karthik looked in fine touch during Gujarat Lions’ campaign and scored 361 runs in 14 games at an average of 36.10 and a strike rate of 139.38, before his team was knocked out after a poor show.

Karthik, who bagged the Man of the Match award in the final of both the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy with hundreds on both the occasions, has been in stellar form in the Indian domestic season,

The 31-year-old was one of the players on standby along with Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and Shardul Thakur. With Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh forming the top five, Karthik might be contesting for the finisher’s role with Kedar Jadhav.

Pandey, though, will rue the timing of his injury as he looked promising in the 14 matches he played for KKR. He scored 396 runs at an average of over 49 and a strike rate of 128.57.

India play two warm-up games against New Zealand and Bangladesh on May 28 and May 30, before beginning their title defence on June 4 against Pakistan. They then take on Sri Lanka on June 8 before playing their final group game against South Africa on June 11.

Squad

Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Dinesh Karthik