Pant at 6 and Karthik at 7 in playing XI if Hardik is fifth bowler: Sunil Gavaskar suggests ahead of IND vs PAK T20 World Cup match

Legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar said that India can fit both Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik in the playing XI if Hardik Pandya plays as the fifth bowler in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Rohit Sharma-led India will open their account against Pakistan in Melbourne on Sunday.

“It’s just that maybe, if they decide to go with six bowlers, with Hardik Pandya being the sixth bowler, then he (Pant) may not be able to find a place,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports show ‘Cricket Live’.

“But if they decide to go with Hardik Pandya as a fifth bowler, then Rishabh Pant has an opportunity to bat at number six and Karthik maybe at number seven, followed by the four bowlers. So, that could well happen, we just have to wait and see,” the 73-year-old said.

“They would certainly want a left hander in the middle, but looking at the top four, who are in such good form, you sometimes say to yourself, ‘How many overs Rishabh Pant is going to get in? “Is he going to get three or four overs? And for three or four overs, is Karthik or Rishabh better?’

So, these are all the situations they will look at and they’ll take a call on this,” he said.

Gavaskar also spoke about Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and said, “I think that’s what their main concern was, about his fitness and how he will shape up. And certainly, in the two overs that he bowled, he’s shown that he’s back to full fitness.

“So, clearly that is one headache gone. I think with their catching, they were much better than what we saw against England.

“Their ground fielding was very good. So, these are two aspects that was worrying them and they have shown improvement in those areas. So, I don’t think they’ll have any doubts when they’ll take on India on Sunday,” Gavaskar concluded.

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