Having featured in India’s first-ever T20 international match way back in December of 2006, life has come full circle for veteran wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who on Monday was included in Team India’s 15-member squad for T20 World Cup staring October 16 in Australia. It was during the IPL 2022 earlier this year that Karthik expressed his desire to be in India’s World Cup squad, and after putting in the hard yards, the 37-year-old was rewarded with a opportunity which for the longest time seemed gone. The T20 World Cup could well be Karthik’s swansong in international cricket, and his shot at going out on a high.
Shortly after the squad was announced, Karthik posted an emotional tweet saying, ‘Dream do come true ‘ which took the internet by storm. It was a chance Karthik had been waiting for since India’s ouster from the 2019 World Cup, and after setting the IPL on fire for Royal Challengers Bangalore and playing several impact knocks for India, the moment had finally arrived. Just the sheer rawness of the tweet was enough to determine how much this meant for DK.
Now, quoting Karthik’s tweet, India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has posted another winner of a tweet, lauding DK for reaching this point in his career. Pandya dropped a one-word reply, calling Karthik a ‘Champion’, which possibly resonates with the Indian audience. Karthik will the second-choice wicketkeeper for India at the T20 World Cup after Rishabh Pant but there is a huge possibility of both featuring in captain Rohit Sharma’s Playing XI when the tournament kickstarts a month from now.
This is not the first moment of appreciation between the two. Against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, when Hardik sealed the game with a six in the final over, Karthik bowed down to him in a million-dollar gesture. In fact, during a post-match interaction between the two where the a video of which was uploaded by the BCCI, Karthik and Pandya could be seen appreciating, acknowledging and singing praises of each other’s skills.
Karthik was part of India’s Asia Cup 2022 campaign and played three matches. He was returned unbeaten on 1 against Pakistan and did not get the chance to bat against Hong Kong and Afghanistan, although he did roll his arms over against the latter. When Karthik was preferred over Pant for the tie against Pakistan, the call surprised many, including former India opener Gautam Gambhir and Pakistan legend Wasim Akram.
On current form, Karthik gets the nod ahead of Pant, and provided if it again comes down to picking one between the two, the decision taken can be really interesting. Persisting with both would mean that India head in with four bowlers as Rohit, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya would be certainties. On Australia pitches, three pacers and one spinner could be the blueprint to fall on, with Hardik filling in as the fifth pacer, needing to bowl all four overs.