Dinesh Karthik replaces Manish Pandey in Champions Trophy squad

“He (Karthik) was already kept as a stand-by, and with Manish suffering an injury, we chose to bring him in,” chief national selector MSK Prasad told Sportstar on Thursday.

Dinesh Karthik... Rewarded for a good domestic season   -  Rajeev Bhatt

 

Dinesh Karthik returned to the Indian side for the Champions Trophy as a replacement for an injured Manish Pandey, the national selectors announced on Thursday.

With Pandey suffering a side strain in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), the MSK Prasad-led selection committee decided to include Karthik in the squad. “He (Karthik) was already kept as a stand-by, and with Manish suffering an injury, we chose to bring him in,” chief national selector MSK Prasad told Sportstar on Thursday.

The chairman also admitted that after a successful domestic season, Karthik deserved the opportunity. “He has had a great domestic season and his experience will help the team in England,” Prasad added.

While the extent of Pandey’s injury is still not clear, he warmed the bench during Kolkata Knight Riders’ Eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday. When contacted, the Kolkata Knight Riders team management confirmed that the Karnataka batsman has been ruled of the IPL, following the injury. "It is unfortunate that he (Pandey) has suffered an injury and will be out of the IPL too. We wish him a speedy recovery," KKR team spokesperson said.

While it would certainly be a big miss for Pandey, Chennai boy Karthik would return to the national team after three years. The Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman, who last played an ODI in 2014, has had a great domestic season for Tamil Nadu. Playing a key role for the state team throughout the season, Karthik slammed a century in the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy to help Tamil Nadu clinch the title.

Even in the IPL, he made his presence felt, donning the Gujarat Lions colours. While the Lions flattered to deceive, Karthik had a decent outing. He also added a feather on his cap, becoming the only wicket-keeper to pull off 100 dismissals in IPL.

Even Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar feels that hard work has paid off for Karthik. “It is a matter of great pride as two of our senior players have been included in the side,” Kanitkar said, drawing reference to Abhinav Mukund’s inclusion in the Test side against Australia. “It is a great thing. DK has had a great season, and he deserved every bit of it. He is rewarded at the right time,” Kanitkar said.

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