When India faced Australia in the first T20I on Tuesday in Mohali, they were still waiting for Rishabh Pant. Pant, whose position in India's T20I lineup has been a contentious issue, was not included in the playing XI as Rohit Sharma stuck with Dinesh Karthik. Karthik was dismissed for 6 of 5 balls out LBW to Nathan Ellis, so the outcome was not quite what India had hoped for. Karthik has been posting consistently low scores in T20Is; his most recent four innings have had scores of 7, 6, and 1 not out.
In India's competition for the wicketkeeper position, Karthik and Pant have been in the spotlight. During the Asia Cup, they were alternately used, but neither hitter received a long at-bat. Although both have been selected for India's T20 World Cup team, it appears that Karthik may have a tiny advantage due to managerial bias. Matthew Hayden, a former Australia opener, disagrees with it somewhat and maintains that Pant is a need for India in all three forms, regardless of the situation.
"Rishabh Pant would be picked in every side if I was the selector. He is just the future. He needs to be backed and needs time. Even if it's through runs or form, he should be there in my opinion. He is a superior player in pretty much every way and aspect," Hayden said on air during the 1st T20I," Pant said before the start of the India vs Australia T20I for host broadcaster Star.
Commenting on Australia's Playing XI, whose standout moment was Tim David's debut, Hayden singled out Josh Inglis for praise, comparing him to David Warner, and urging other young players to fill the void left by Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, and Mitchell Marsh.
"They are a depleted side but the reality of it is that they have got to dig deep. We have got to look towards what is next in the line-up. Young Inglis is such an exciting and young player. He is almost like a mirror-image of David Warner. He is a right-handed version. He cuts, he pulls, he lays back and when it comes his way, he hits it through the on-side. He is also a very good powerful player," he added.