If not entirely but the recently-concluded five-match series against South Africa at home has given India some idea regarding their final 15 for the 2022 T20 World Cup. And while India head coach Rahul Dravid is yet to firm up his World Cup squad, veterans and legends of the game have already begun their assessment of the Indian team and their possible squad. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who was in India for the entire T20I contest, on Tuesday picked two undroppable players from the India squad.
The South Africa legend was in awe of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik, both of whom made a return to the Indian team after a long gap. While the star all-rounder had missed all of India’s matches since 2021 T20 World Cup owing to his recovery from back injury, Karthik forced his way back into reckoning with a tremendous show in IPL 2022 after having last played for India in 2019 World Cup.
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In four innings, Hardik scored 117 runs at a strike rate of 153.9. He also bowled five overs in the series, albeit going wicketless. Karthik, on the other hand, clobbered 92 runs in four innings at a breath-taking strike rate of 158.6, with one half-century score.
Speaking to cricket.com a day after the T20I series, Smith picked Hardik and Karthik as the two undroppable players for the big event in Australia later this year.
“Still a lot of cricket to be played so it is difficult to predict what is going to happen in the next couple of months but you are going to think Hardik and DK are integral to that squad. DK is experienced with that finishing role that he has played Hardik has grown leaps and bounds and is in control of his game. Mentally he looks like he has settled. And he is also that all-rounder X Factor that India require to just balance the team with him and Jadeja in the squad which opens up a lot of options. So I can’t see that those two not making it to the World Cup squad,” he said.
India will next play a two-match series against Ireland later this month before taking on England and West Indies in the format, respectively.
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