India won the toss in their charged Asia Cup match against Pakistan on Sunday and Indian captain Rohit Sharma decided to bowl first with Pakistan captain Babar Azam confirming that they too would have bowled first had they won the toss.

The big selection conundrum for India was to pick one out of the explosive Rishabh Pant and the in-form though out of the mix finisher Dinesh Karthik. Both of them are good behind the wickets.

Rohit Sharma admitted at the toss that it was a difficult choice and “sadly Rishabh misses out”. The selection surprised a lot of commentators as the left-handed Rishabh Pant has the X factor and can play up the order if the start is good. Karthik comes for the finishing kick. One reason cricket pundits presumed could be that having the veteran Karthik in the squad made no sense if India was not going to play him and the team management would have been a bit under pressure.

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Karthik though would take the extremely well-earned opportunity with both hands as he has been in electric form in whatever few chances that he has got coming into the Asia Cup. India has recognized the role of a specialist finisher and that may have swung the decision in favour of Karthik. A year ago it would have been difficult to think of Karthik playing as an international cricketer when he made an impressive debut as a commentator in India’s Test of England.

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Karthik’s blitzkrieg on 17 June 2022 against South Africa would surely have contributed to people standing up and taking notice. Karthik came with India 81 for 4 in 12.5 overs and Rishabh Pant the last wicket to fall for a 17 in 23 balls. Karthik blasted 55 in 27 balls with 9 fours and two sixes to take India to 169, a total that the team successfully defended. He won the man of the match award for his effort.