London: Indian skipper Virat Kohli has hinted at Dinesh Karthik’s inclusion in the Playing XI for the much awaited Champions Trophy clash against Pakistan after the wicketkeeper-batsman made a strong case for his selection scoring stylish 94 runs against Bangladesh in the second warm-up game at the Kennington Oval on Tuesday.
Karthik, who got out for a duck in the first warm-up match against New Zealand, made full use of the opportunity in the second game as he tore apart the Bangladeshi attack in his 77-ball knock which was studded with 8 fours and a six.
The 31-year-old, along with Shikhar Dhawan (60) and Hardik Pandya (80*), helped India post a gigantic 324-6 in their 50 overs which the Indian bowlers defended with precision.
The Men in Blued then skittled out Bangladesh for a paltry 84 in only 23.5 overs, thus winning the game by a huge margin of 240 runs. “Very pleased. We got what we wanted in both the games. Last game as well, the bowlers did a fantastic job. As soon as the cloud cover comes in, it becomes increasingly difficult for the batsmen. Not taking anything from our bowlers. But it gets very difficult,” Kohli said after the match.
Pandya’s flambouyant knock was also the highlight of the Indian innings as he looked in prime form. His unbeaten 54-ball inning was studded with 6 fours and 4 sixes.
“We back Kedhar and Hardik to do it for us down the order. Hardik was outstanding. Jadeja also played with composure.”
“Fielding has been good, catching has been good. All bases are covered. We have ticked all the boxes going into the tournament,” he added. Heaping praise on Karthik, the 28-year-old said, “Dinesh is an outstanding player. We just wanted to give him an extended run.’ India won the last Champions Trophy in 2013 and head into the marquee event as favourites after a hugely successful home season with 10 Test wins.
Team India begin their title defence in what can be expected as a high-voltage encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4 at Edgbaston.