The competition for spots on the Indian cricket team is always intense, with new players constantly vying for a chance to prove themselves.
One of the positions where India hasn’t nailed down a player in the T20I format is that of a ‘finisher’ at No. 6.
Recently, veteran wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik has urged the team management to give the uncapped Jitesh Sharma an opportunity at No. 6.
The Vidarbha wicketkeeper-batter has played 54 T20s and scored 1329 runs with the strike rate of 141.83.
Right now, Deepak Hooda is the selector’s choice.
Deepak made his first appearance for India in 2022 in the T20I format and has played in 19 matches.
However, he has never had a fixed position.
In fact, Deepak has been asked to bat in six different positions throughout these games, with his most memorable performance coming at the No.3 spot where he scored a century against Ireland in June.
He has had the most opportunities at the No.6 position, where he has scored 73 runs in six innings, including a top score of 41*.
This shows that the thinking is a bit confused.
After all, Hooda has had success in the Indian Premier League, particularly at the No. 3 and 4 spots, but when it comes to the Indian national team, he is often tested in the role of a finisher at No. 6 or lower.
Even Karthik believes that the team should give Hooda a chance to prove himself at No. 3 before making any decisions about moving on from him.
“To be consistent is the hardest thing at 5, 6, 7, especially at 6 and 7,” Karthik said in a recent chat.
“Deepak Hooda, even though he has done really well at No.3, for some reason they feel he can do the job at No.6 and 7. I feel this is going to be a big challenge for him.”
“Through his IPL career, barring Lucknow Super Giants, he is someone who has batted through the middle, at No.5 or 6, and hasn’t had great success. He fancies himself as a top-order batter.”
“He rediscovered himself when he went from Baroda to Rajasthan. He likes batting in the powerplay. He likes to take the game on. But right now, in the recently-concluded Sri Lanka series, he did decently well at No.6 and it was a great opportunity for him.”
Karthik also believes that the No. 6 spot would be a great opportunity for the young Jitesh Sharma, who has groomed himself as a home-grown No. 6 batsman.
He feels that Sharma would cherish the opportunity to play at that position and would enjoy it a lot more as he has trained himself to bat there.
However, in the recent series, Sharma was not given the opportunity to play.
Karthik suggests that if Hooda is under pressure, the team should give him the opportunity at No. 3 before moving on from him.