Veteran Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has backed wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik for a place in the playing XI at Trent Bridge despite his run-less innings in his last four outings against England.

England have taken a lead of 2-0 in the ongoing five-match Test series and, so far, Karthik has not done enough with the bat to retain his spot in the squad. He has scores of 0, 20, 1 & 0 in his last four innings.

Virat Kohli-led Indian side is in a do-or-die situation in the third Test and if they lose the third game, the hosts will win the series. Going by Virat Kohli’s pre-match conference, there may be some changes in Indian playing XI.

In the third Test, young Delhi batsman Rishabh Pant is expected to replace struggling Karthik in the playing XI, however, Gambhir feels that the 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has time on his side, and if Karthik gets dropped now he might never get a chance to put on the whites for India.

“There will always be a temptation (to play Pant). I still feel that Karthik is at that stage of his career, it’s now or never. So you got to always give someone an extra Test match than one lesser. People would be expecting for him to deliver with the amount of comebacks he’s made but those conditions are tough,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by Times of India newspaper.

“If you don’t give him an opportunity in the next Test match or one more after that, we might never see him again. Rishabh can wait. He has a lot of years ahead of him. Because six innings, to be honest, can give you a better idea where the batter is,” Gambhir added.

Earlier, the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Dilip Vengsarkar backed Rishabh Pant to be included in the playing XI in the third Test.