Dinesh Karthik is at an interesting stage in his career. Even 10 months ago, nobody was talking about him. In fact, he was doing all the talking as a broadcaster. On the cricket field, very few things were going right for him. He was having a torrid time with the bat for Kolkata Knight Riders, a franchise for which he had been one of the pillars in the last few years. The team did make it to the finals but Karthik’s average run with the bat meant KKR decided to release him. With age not on his side and the seemingly lucrative career prospect of continuing as a full-time broadcaster looming large, very few would have thought that about nine months down the line, Karthik would be one of the firsts in India’s Asia Cup with a never-before-seen role in the history of Indian cricket.
Karthik comes in to bat in the last five or six overs for India in T20Is, the role he had performed to perfection for RCB in this year’s IPL. In the last 13 innings that he has played ever since making a comeback in the home series against South Africa after IPL 2022, the veteran wicketkeeper-batter has come out to bat before the 15th over only once. The fact that Axar Patel batted ahead of him on a few occasions, is a testimony that he has a clear and well-defined role. To be fair to him, he has had a reasonable amount of success too with three impactful innings. The time that Karthik comes in to bat, the best he can do is play a 25 to 30-run cameo to give the innings a lift. Despite managing to do that, he has coped with criticism from noted former cricketers like Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Ajay Jadeja, who believe the man from Tamil Nadu is ‘blocking’ spot for batting only five overs at best.
Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was the latest to share his thoughts on the unique role of Dinesh Karthik in India’s T20I team. Kaneria had little doubts that Karthik is well and truly in India’s scheme of things for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November but he also opined that the world event will be Dinesh Karthik’s last for India.
“I don’t think Dinesh Karthik will continue to play after the T20 World Cup. This Asia Cup is crucial for him to make sure he is in the T20 World Cup squad. His form, fitness and how he finishes games will be something that many will have their eye on. India also have other hitters like Hardik Pandya, so even if DK does well in Asia Cup, this will be his last T20 World Cup,” Kaneria said on his YoutTube channel.
The 37-year-old Indian, however, would love to prove the doubters wrong, as he has done many times in his career now spanning close to two decades.
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