Pant’s no-show in the recently concluded T20I home series against South Africa, and Karthik’s drive for quick runs in the same series have fuelled this talk.
Should Pant be backed so much? Should he be even fly to ICC T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia? Does Pant merit a place in the 11 even if he is in the squad? In all this, almost all sides of the topic have been discussed threadbare.
India head coach Rahul Dravid seemed to be on Pant’s side and backed him as captain and batter.
“To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only.
“He (Pant) is a young captain, growing as leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series,” Dravid had said in the post-match conference on Sunday.
“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep and bat. He had a lot of load on him but gaining from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2,” he added.
However, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar has no doubt that Karthik should be considered ahead of Pant in T20Is for the moment.
“When we (him and Dinesh Karthik) went for the World Test Championship we were pretty much having lunch, breakfast, dinner together. And over there he was telling me about his ambition to come back in the India team for the T20 World Cup,” said Gavaskar during an interaction on Star Sports.
“He wasn’t in line for the one in UAE but this time around he looks very well to be part of the flight that takes to Melbourne,” he added.
So, let’s look at a stats comparison between Pant and Karthik to assess how deep this match-up goes.
1 T20I stats of Pant, Karthik
Pant: M: 48, R: 741, Avg: 23.15, SR: 123.91, 50: 3
DK: M: 37, R: 491, Avg: 35.07, SR: 146.13, 50: 1.
2 Pant, Karthik stats vs SA, 2022
Pant: M: 5, R: 58, Avg: 14.50, SR: 105.45.
DK: M: 5, R: 92, Avg: 46, SR: 158.62, 50: 1.
3 Pant, Karthik stats in T20 WC
Pant (2021): M: 5, R: 78, Avg: 39. SR: 125.81.
DK (2007): M: 4; R: 28, Avg: 9.33, SR: 127.27
2009: M: 2, R: 29, Avg: 14.50, SR: 100.
4. Pant, DK T20I stats home and away
Pant: Home: M: 31; R: 434, Avg: 20.67, SR: 122.25
Away: M: 17, R: 307, Avg: 27.91, SR: 126.34
DK: Home: M: 14; R: 159, Avg: 53, SR: 140.71
Away: M: 23; R: 332, Avg: 30.18, SR: 148.88