Dinesh Karthik, one of the wicket-keepers tried out in the Ganguly era before the arrival of MS Dhoni.
Fourteen years after his debut for India, Karthik
is turning out to be an excellent finisher in the shorter formats of the game.
A string of low scores kept him out of the team in the initial years, and MS Dhoni
occupied the wicket-keeper position for years after making his debut in 2004-2005. Karthik managed to make a comeback to limited overs cricket in the capacity of a batsman, however, couldn’t make his position stable once again. He has been in and out of the team for a while.
Karthik had to wait for his return test cricket even after Dhoni’s retirement as Saha took over the role. However, an injury to Saha ahead of the England tour paved the way for Karthik. He returned to the Test squad in one of the toughest places to bat in the world cricket.
The comeback was a tough one, and he failed to score in the first two test matches along with the majority of Indian batsmen. Indian team management dropped Karthik for the rest of the tour.
It’s fair to say the decision was “unfair” towards Karthik especially when the entire batting unit failed in England in the first two test matches and other batsmen who were not playing well for a long time continued to retain their place.
Karthik’s test career was in question with young Rishab Pant making his debut. Pant failed in his first five innings, but, scored a century in relatively batting friendly conditions. As expected, Karthik didn’t make it to the squad for the games against West Indies and Australia.
However, he had his opportunities in the ODI and T20 format. He took up the finisher’s role in Nidahas trophy final winning the cup for India. He continued his form in ODIs and T20s and kept wickets in the recent T20 series in India against the West Indies in 2018.
Karthik was at his best against Australians in Brisbane and Sydney with the bat and looked set to take up the finisher’s role post-Dhoni age. Irrespective of his experience and excellent wicketkeeping against West Indies, it was Rishab Pant who took up the wicket-keeping duties against Australia. Pant did struggle with the bat and behind the wickets in the series and didn’t have enough temperament to bat for longer time.
Karthik at his current form, temperament, and the sensible batting can be the player to take up wicketkeeping ahead of Rishab Pant for the next few years. India will have an opportunity to bring in another genuine batsman who can bat at number five instead of Pant. Kohli and management have to give Karthik a long run in all the formats to utilize his experience and become an able replacement for MS Dhoni.