Dinesh Karthik fights back tears as IPL retirement confirmed, Virat Kohli's emotional hug, RCB's gesture lead farewell | Crickit
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Dinesh Karthik fights back tears as IPL retirement confirmed, Virat Kohli's emotional hug, RCB's gesture lead farewell

May 23, 2024 08:40 AM IST

Dinesh Karthik's retirement: Led by Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers Bengaluru gave DK an emotional farewell after RR knocked them out of IPL 2024.

Moments after another year of so near yet so far for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru players, it hit them. The exit from IPL 2024 after losing the Eliminator to Rajasthan Royals also marked the end of one of their beloved's glorious journey in the league. It was the last hurrah for Dinesh Karthik, wearing an RCB jersey on the cricket field. Or for any franchise, for that matter. DK didn't make an official announcement but the post-match scenes were self-explanatory. Karthik had retired from IPL.

Dinesh Karthik got a guard of honour from RCB players
Dinesh Karthik got a guard of honour from RCB players

The handshakes with the RR players were firmer. The hugs he got from Dhurv Jurel and Kumar Sangakkara were warmer than usual. The walk to the dressing room seemed never-ending. On Wednesday, time stood still for DK at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. But the pleasantries and warmth from his teammates and opponents didn't. They continued as he slowly walked towards the boundary line.

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RCB's icon and former India captain Virat Kohli walked up to Karthik and embraced him. Karthik is a strong man. He fought with everything he had, trying to hold back tears. The "DK, DK" chants presented the perfect background score. Seeing the RCB players allow him to lead them off the field was heartening.

Karthik took off his gloves and acknowledged the fans, who were on their feet to applaud. It was symbolic that his last wave to the fans was with the keeping gloves in hand and not the bat. A keeper first, he always was right throughout his career despite his outstanding returns as a batter. A team man to the core, Karthik deserved every bit of adulation he was getting.

Dinesh Karthik gets emotional farewell from RCB and RR players

So what, he couldn't end RCB's long-lasting wait for an IPL trophy? He gave the franchise and its fans belief in the last three seasons like few had managed.

In many ways, those were Dinesh Karthik's best years in the IPL. At 35, he reinvented himself as a finisher when many didn't give him a chance to find a new team after he was released by Kolkata Knight Riders, let alone emerge as a match-winner. His exploits in IPL 2022 - 330 runs at a strike rate of 183.33 - were so impactful that they brought him back into the Indian T20I side.

It was Karthik's second stint with RCB. He played in 2015 after being picked up at the auction for 10.5 crore. But had a horrible run with the bat, scoring only 141 runs in 16 matches. Giving up is never an option for the man from Tamil Nadu. He kept coming back in one way or another to continue being one of the only seven cricketers to feature in every edition of the IPL since its inception in 2008.

Karthik finished his IPL career with 4,842 runs in 257 matches (joint second-most with Rohit Sharma), studded with 22 fifties.

In his illustrious IPL career, which spanned over 17 years, Karthik played for six franchises in the cash-rich league. He made his debut in the inaugural season in 2008 with the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). He switched to Punjab in 2011 and went on to play for the Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Kolkata Knight Riders, and the RCB.

He ended the current season with 326 runs in 15 matches with an average of 36.22, and a strike rate of 187.36.

Happy retirement, DK!

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