The year 2022 belongs to Dinesh Karthik. Having made his comeback to the national side following a fantastic season in the Indian T20 League 2022, Karthik is the talk of the town.
While his previous stint at the Kolkata franchise was not very productive, Karthik was snapped up for 5.5 crores by the Bangalore franchise for the 2022 season. From a tactical standpoint, the way the batting order was devised worked beautifully for DK.
Karthik has benefited from Bangalore's longer and more diverse batting order. Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis are both significantly stronger pace players than spinners at the top of the order, prompting teams to burn their spin overs early.
In the same vein, while Wanindu Hasaranga's batting had not been especially effective this season, he is a spin hitter who will bat at number eight or number nine with pace smasher Harshal Patel. If opponents would hold back a spinner against Bangalore to deploy against Karthik, they could respond with the Sri Lankan's pinch-hitter abilities, which will protect their top finisher.
Karthik has had far too many rebuild and rescue missions this season for the team to take credit for his accomplishments, but there is a framework that has provided him with a nice environment in which to thrive.
Compare that with his time at the Kolkata franchise. He was frequently batting alongside Andre Russell, a substantially better player with a similar penchant for pace bowling. Teams had the added benefit of being able to target Karthik and Pat Cummins if they kept back spin for Dre at the end. When you consider that many of Kolkata's other players (Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, and Nitish Rana) have a weakness for fast bowling and prefer spin, the decision to backload your spin overs was often easier than you may think.
That doesn’t mean that all of Karthik’s success this season has been due to the structure. It is no secret that DK is a better player of pace than spin. Yet, he has done exceptionally well against spinners though, averaging 7.3 runs per over with only two dismissals per 50 balls. It's about living and protecting his wicket, and there have been instances when he's taken down specific bowlers. But it is Karthik's destruction of pace that has been the genuine genius of this campaign; a scoring rate of 14.7 runs per over.
This season, he's been used perfectly in games when he was held back until the pace attack began. Karthik has been thrown in during the halfway point of games to prevent collapses, and he has been just as successful. He has been sent in too soon and too late, and his success is a result of wise use as a problem solver.
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Featured photo: Twitter/DineshKarthik