Dinesh Karthik has unrealistic T20 World Cup expectations and he has to learn to let it go | Crickit
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Dinesh Karthik has unrealistic T20 World Cup expectations and he has to learn to let it go

Apr 21, 2024 02:14 PM IST

Dinesh Karthik can run hard between the wickets and launch the ball deep into the stands, but it’s not enough!

Dinesh Karthik is indeed an intriguing case in Indian cricket. Not sure if many remember that he represented India before MS Dhoni did. Dhoni, however, when he got his chance, didn’t let it go and went on to become one of the finest Indian wicket-keeping batters of all time. Besides, as a captain, he proved himself to be the greatest ever in Indian cricket. He retired in 2020.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Dinesh Karthik greets spectators as he walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match (AFP)
Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Dinesh Karthik greets spectators as he walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match (AFP)

Karthik, on the other hand, could not get it going. On multiple occasions, he and Parthiv Patel made the squad when Dhoni was not available for one reason or another but they could never come up with the kinds of performances that they needed to upstage Dhoni who was slowing and steadily becoming a humongous figure in Indian cricket.

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Karthik, however, has beaten Dhoni in terms of longevity in international cricket. He is still available for selection and just like he did less than two years ago, before the World T20 in Australia, he is making a strong case for a callback ahead of the 2024 World T20 through one solid performance after another in the ongoing Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

ALSO READ: Dinesh Karthik fires T20 World Cup challenge to Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson after Rohit Sharma's green signal

He has played all seven games for the team so far and scored 226 runs at an average of 75.33 which is brilliant for a player who bats lower down the order. But what is most striking about his performance is that he has scored these runs at an extraordinary strike rate of 205.45, and in the last two matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, he has scored 83 and 53* respectively.

These impressive numbers have led to the return of the debate if he deserves a place in the 15-member squad for the 2024 World T20 to be held in the United States and the West Indies in June. In 2022, Karthik had a brilliant IPL outing. He returned to the team and went on to represent India in the World T20 later in the year.

Should he be really in the squad? The right answer should be “No”. First of all, he is almost 39 years old and age does matter. Yes, he can run hard between the wickets and launch the ball deep into the stands, but it’s not enough!

International cricket requires skills but people succeed more because of their mental fortitude. Dhoni is a classic example, absolutely blessed in that department. There is no success in international cricket without being mentally tough. Unfortunately, time and again, Karthik has proved he lacks in that department and hence is not viable at that level.

Fans will remember that iconic match against Pakistan in Melbourne in the 2022 World T20 when India needed just 2 runs off two balls with Karthik on the strike. All he had to do was tap the ball into the gap for a single and bring Virat Kohli back on strike but in the most bizarre manner, he was out stumped, putting India in a precarious situation.

His performances in the following matches didn’t improve either. Yes, he made just 14 runs in three innings that he played and was eventually dropped ahead of the Zimbabwe game! He has not played for India since.

Right now India have a lot of options. Rishabh Pant is back to competitive cricket after his dreadful car crash in late 2022, and in a short time in the ongoing IPL he has shown he has not lost his touch. Then there is Sanju Samson who is getting better and better with time. There is also KL Rahul who has kept wicket for India in white-ball cricket in recent times. So India is spoilt for choice.

Besides, it will be a regressive decision to bring him back. The Indian selectors had made a mistake two years ago, and it's unlikely the error will be repeated. The very thought of bringing him back should not be entertained, if truth be told.

Karthik’s fans won’t like it but he has fallen way down the pecking order. Recently he said he will do everything he can to be on that flight to the World Cup. He can say what he wants but the truth of the matter is, it’s now too late for him. He has to let it go.

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