Following a very productive Indian T20 League and an excellent home series versus South Africa, Dinesh Karthik has been the talk of the town. His career spells longevity, but he has had his fair share of ups and downs. Specialising now as a finisher in the shortest format of the game, Karthik is at the top of his game.
Under MS Dhoni’s shadow
On December 1, 2006, India played South Africa in their first-ever T20 International in Johannesburg, and Karthik made his debut in the format. Karthik led India to a thrilling six-wicket victory over the Proteas with an unbeaten 31 from 28 balls. Karthik then saw such a promising start eaten up by the excellent career of none other than MS Dhoni.
And yet, Karthik has never wavered in his quest for a spot in the national squad. When he realised he wouldn't be able to play as a wicketkeeper-batter in the playing XI because of Dhoni's presence, he refined his batting skills and made many appearances for India as a specialist batter.
ODI World Cup disappointment
At the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, Karthik made another comeback as a specialist batter. After failing to create an impression during the competition, he was once again dropped from the team. He was already 34 years old. His international career appeared to be coming to an end. But it didn't end there.
Dinesh Karthik then made his way back to India’s T20 set-up after a long gap of three years, for the series vs South Africa.
Indian T20 League 2022 resurgence
He also had a dismal Indian T20 League career with the Kolkata franchise in 2021. The veteran, however, took the competition by storm in 2022 after being purchased by the Bangalore franchise, whose batting structure seemed to compliment him. He was bought for Rs 5.50 crore at the auction. In 16 games, he scored 330 runs at an incredible strike rate of 183.33.
International team-mate Hardik Pandya hailed Karthik’s inspirational comeback. “I remember the conversation you were having when you were not in the scheme of things, a lot of people counted you out,” Hardik told Karthik during a chat hosted by the BCCI.
“I remember those conversations. You told me then that my goal is to play for India again and the goal is to play this World Cup. I am going to give it my everything, and seeing you achieve that is very inspirational.
“A lot of people are going to learn new things. Well done my brother, very proud of you,” Hardik added.
Featured photo: AFP / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE