Dinesh Karthik's outstanding batting performances have boosted his chances of making India's T20 World Cup squad in 2022. The veteran wicket-keeper batter has continued his fine form in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa at home, following a brilliant IPL 2022. Karthik smashed a match-winning half-century to lead India to an 82-run victory over the Proteas in the 4th T20I on Friday (June 17).
Karthik returned to the Indian team in the ongoing South Africa series after a three-year absence, having last played for India during the 2019 ODI World Cup. He's been brought in as a finisher for the Men in Blue, and he's been fantastic so far batting in the lower middle order.
Apart from Karthik, a number of other players have been making strong arguments for inclusion in India's squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2022, which is only four months away. Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, and Avesh Khan, among others, have taken advantage of the opportunities that have come their way and are poised to challenge the national selectors.
While Karthik and a few others have impressed in their respective roles, some of the regular players' performances have been questioned. In the absence of KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, who is leading the Indian team against South Africa, has seen his performance dwindle and is struggling to score runs consistently.
Pant has only 57 runs in four matches against South Africa in the ongoing series, and former South African pacer Dale Steyn believes Pant is behind Karthik in the running for a spot in India's T20 World Cup squad in 2022. Karthik is better than Pant, according to Steyn, and should be one of the first names on the list when India's squad is selected.
"Pant has had four opportunities now in this series and he seems to be making the same mistake. You could say that good players learn from their mistakes, but he hasn't. And DK has come up just every single time and shown what a class player he is. I think if you want to win World Cups, you pick a guy who is in form," Steyn said on ESPNCricinfo post India's win over South Africa on Friday.
That guy is going to win you the World Cup. If he is in a purple patch and is red hot, you pick that guy. Teams will pick on reputation, but DK is in such fantastic form, and if he continues, he will be one of the first names written down on the plane when India tours for the World Cup," he added.
"DK has been in phenomenal form and looks like he is getting better and better. He has that great wicket-keeping mentality and reads the game very well. He knows and understands what bowlers are going to do, and he backs it up really well with good skill," said the former South Africa pacer.