India picked veteran Dinesh Karthik over rising talent Rishabh Pant for the World Cup because of his composure under pressure, captain Virat Kohli said in an interview released Wednesday.
The selection of the 33-year-old Karthik in the 15-member squad was sharply criticised by some former cricketers who felt the 21-year-old Pant should have been given a chance.
Since making his debut in 2018, Pant has impressed with his batting, including a maiden Test century in England.
He scored 488 runs from 16 matches in the just-finished Indian Premier League, while Karthik made 253 runs from 14 games.
Both players are vying for the reserve wicketkeeper slot behind former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“In pressure situations, he (Karthik) has shown composure. It was something that everybody on board was convinced about. He has the experience,” Kohli told the Times of India newspaper.
“If, god forbid, something happens to MS (Dhoni), Karthik can be immensely valuable behind the wickets. As a finisher, he’s done well.
“So, it was the overall exposure to a tournament of this magnitude that was taken into primary consideration,” said Kohli.