Dinesh Karthik in World Cup squad after 12 years

Banking on experience and ‘keeping skills, the selectors preferred Karthik to youngster Rishabh Pant for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Dinesh Karthik (fifth from left) with his team-mates ahead of the ICC World Cup 2007 in the West Indies.   -  FILE PHOTO/VIVEK BENDRE

 

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik batted India to victory in the second ODI against Australia in Adelaide in January, the frame looked way too perfect. On Monday, the selectors named Karthik in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 squad. He will hang around Dhoni as that fit batter who can convert the twos into threes and finish games, apart from being a back-up wicketkeeping option.

Four years younger to Dhoni, the 33-year-old Karthik had made his international debut in 2004; three months before the former India captain arrived.

Dinesh Karthik at a Team India training session in Melbourne during the T20I series against Australia.   -  AP

 

Despite skills and agility, Karthik was not a regular member of the side. Parthiv Patel held the Test spot for a bit, before Dhoni — a package back in the day — blocked all entry points across formats.

By the time Wriddhiman Saha arrived, Karthik had perhaps given up on ‘keeping hopes in Tests. He kept bouncing back as a batsman in limited-overs.

READ| Team India for World Cup 2019: Karthik, Jadeja, Shankar in squad, Pant misses out

This will be Karthik’s second World Cup. In 2007, he was part of the squad that was led by Rahul Dravid but did not get a game.

With an experience of 15 years, Karthik and Dhoni would be keen to lay their hands on the trophy.

Karthik can also feed in ideas as he is also the skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

KKR coach Jacques Kallis rates him high as a player. “ He is a very experienced player and he knows his game pretty well. He has got us out of many [tricky] situations in the past. He has an all-round view of the game, which can also help the youngsters.

“It gives you an edge. He will certainly be in my team,” Kallis told Sportstar in a recent interaction.

Having played with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Dravid and Virender Sehwag — Karthik clearly understands the World Cup temperament a little better than Rishabh Pant, who still has many years ahead of him. The 21-year-old is already seen as Dhoni's successor.

Last year, Karthik made a comeback in Tests after eight years. He kept against Afghanistan in one Test and then, against England in two. He is used to such grand comebacks.

During the Test recall period, his coach Apurva Desai had told this publication of the effort that Karthik puts in to remain in fray. “Every year, he prepares with the red and white ball diligently. In the last 12 months, he has been in India’s ODI and T20 squads so he was focusing on that but if you look at his statistics, he got a couple of hundreds (a total of 291 runs at an average of 72.75) in Duleep Trophy 2017-18. He is somebody who can adapt and has been doing it consistently for sometime.”

Last year, the last-ball six in the Nidahas T20 Trophy final against Bangladesh, turned the tide for the wicketkeeper-batsman.