National call

Creative Karthik orders national call-up

Dinesh Karthik eyed Ravichandran Ashwin over his bowling mark, then looked around at the court that was in store for him. Ashwin’s success with the white ball is largely due to his ability to plan the event and execute it under pressure. He played his ground and his plan, but still got hit in every corner by a hitter at the top of his finishing game.

When Karthik plundered 21, he not only won the RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) game but also telegraphed a message to the national selectors that he was the best white ball finisher in India at the moment.

Karthik’s runs in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) are one of a kind. These are all lower order runs scored at a higher strike rate. They are also special in a way that can only be described as the spreading of butter on hot toast. In the sense that it seems obvious when and how he does it.

You could say that the legend of DK was born the night India won the Nidahas trophy. Let me take you back a bit. In 2007, at the Kennington Oval in England, when India needed a makeshift first game, he scored a stoic 91 that left his mark on world cricket. Fifteen years later, his technique, his temperament and his triumphs have distinguished themselves in all forms of play.

To understand the uniqueness of Karthik’s game, we need to consider the demands of the position he is batting at. The designated finisher in T20 cricket should reach the limits at will. At the age of 37, he seems to have cracked a code for hitting a boundary with his first balls, regardless of the bowler, the opposition and the situation in which he is bowling.

To have such a dynamic game plan, he worked extremely hard to be creative in his shots. Now mastering the art of picking up the ball, Karthik can access all areas from third man to thin leg at will. There has been enough and more evidence that his power on the pitch has also been outstanding. What remains are the acres of square space on both sides. To hit the ball there, Karthik’s method is to get into a position of strength. He will move to the outside of the stump and hit the ball through the side of the leg and stay to the side of the line of deliveries to hit the ball through the outside side. Therefore, regardless of who the five boundary horsemen are, he is able to find the fence.

If there’s one area where the national team needs cover, it’s the finish slot. Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja will float around in this role, but both are left-handed. Karthik is that right-hander who can separate them both. The only argument against him is his age. Cricket wisdom suggests that batting is a skill that develops best with age. Beyond 30, most hitters thrive in their game. Physically, the act becomes taxing and your body needs more time to recover. Mentally though, it’s a dream location when you’re wise enough to have seen all the ups and downs of international cricket.

Karthik’s work ethic in terms of physical fitness is second to none and mentally he is one of the toughest characters on the gaming circuit. Whatever combination the team management wants to go with, s ‘they need a seasoned finisher, there’s only one name that fits the bill – Dinesh Karthik.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed are those of the author and have nothing to do with the charter or opinions of OTV. OTV does not assume any responsibility in this regard.)

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