Former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad feels the Indian team management will find it "difficult and tricky" to make the right choice between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik in their T20 World Cup semifinal against England in Adelaide on Thursday (November 10).
Barring last match against Zimbabwe, India have played Karthik ahead of Pant in the ongoing showpiece. However, Karthik hasn't fired in his role of a designated finisher, while Pant too failed to impress in the chances that he has got so far in T20Is.
"The key debate or issue on Thursday will be what the captain and coach want in their playing XI. If they want a left-hander in the top order to unsettle England they might go for Pant as he is a great option. But if they want a finisher they might consider Karthik for the job," Prasad told PTI in an interview.
"Definitely, this is the only debate or issue before the team. It will be interesting to see who finally gets the nod. The rest of the team I am sure will remain the same." The former wicketkeeper batter said the performance of India's top-order will play a crucial role when they face 2010 champions England.
"There is no clear or outright favourites for the second semi-final. Both teams are equally good. For India, the performance of the top order will be crucial," he said.
"India must get a solid opening partnership. I think captain Rohit Sharma will have to lead from the front. He is a big match player and I have a feeling that a big inning is due from him.
"Rahul will have to give him good support and Virat Kohli must continue with his ominous form in the tournament. If two of the top three fire, India will have a very good chance to get the better of England." Prasad said India have great depth in batting and possess some outstanding match-winners in Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya.
"At current form, Suryakumar is one of the best T20 batsmen, if not the best in the world. Hardik is an out-and-out match-winner and I feel one big and crucial innings is due from him. That may come on Thursday." Prasad feels Indian pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh must look to get England captain Jos Buttler early.
"I don't think there should be any change in the Indian bowling line-up. They are doing an exceptional job. On Thursday, Bhuvneshwar and Arshdeep have to strike early to take the wicket of Buttler, or else he can take the match away from India." The 47-year-old said the two Indian spinners will have to do their job to restrict the batters in the middle overs.
"Both Axar Patel and R Ashwin have been doing a very good job. I would not like to see any changes and I am sure this is the perfect balance for the team. They have been doing a very consistent job, getting the crucial wickets and containing the run-flow as well," he said.
Prasad also said it is high time that India win an ICC World Cup title. "Player to player this team is second to none. Its only about holding the nerves and excelling with performance when it matters the most. I think India can reach the finals and may just clinch the title this time."