IPL 2022: All hail ‘finisher’ Dinesh Karthik – Is there another India comeback on the horizon? | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: A strike rate of 200 after 12 innings while scoring 274 runs at 68.50, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s designated finisher Dinesh Karthik has taken the 15th edition of Indian Premier League by storm. The wicketkeeper-batter is literally giving jitters to death overs bowlers in the league.
It’s not just the quick runs, Karthik’s contributions overall have also been highly impactful in RCB’s success in this season’s campaign. Incredibly, DK has remained unbeaten in all of RCB’s seven wins so far — scoring 200 runs at a staggering strike rate of 202.02 in those games. The latest being a whirlwind 30 not out off just 8 balls against the Sunrisers Hyderabad over the weekend.

It’s not a surprise that many are suggesting that Karthik should be in the India squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Over the years, DK, who made his India debut way back in 2004, made multiple comebacks to the Indian team.

So, the big question now is – will we see DK in the India blue again? He is surely in prime form. The selectors must have been watching keenly. Add to that the fact that he is playing for a team which has the former India captain Virat Kohli in it. He might not be the skipper anymore, but his inputs should be taken in deciding the final complexion of the Indian squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup later this year, in Australia.

Dinesh Karthik (BCCI/IPL Photo)
Let’s first have a look at his finishing masterclasses so far in IPL 2022:
KARTHIK, THE FINISHER IMPRESSES ALL
The 36-year-old batter has been assigned the specific role of a finisher in the star-studded RCB batting line-up, and he has proven himself as arguably the best in the business in the tournament so far. This is a role DK had been consciously working on for a while himself as well. He has the best strike rate among the top run-getters (minimum 100 runs) @ 200.00, hit the 4th most maximums – 21 sixes, and has the third best average of 68.50 in the ongoing 15th edition of the IPL so far.
Incidentally, his form is interlinked with RCB’s success. As mentioned earlier, he is unbeaten in the seven RCB games have won so far, while his inability to hit the quick runs for a short while coincided with three successive defeats for the team. Karthik is again back among the runs over the last couple of matches, and RCB too are back to winning ways, as they aim to consolidate their top-four position. They have won their last two matches – against Chennai Super Kings and SRH.

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Dinesh Karthik (BCCI/IPL Photo)
Karthik scored 26 not out off 17 balls against CSK to help RCB break their three-match losing streak. Then in their last game against SRH, Karthik smoked four sixes in his unbeaten 8-ball 30 blitzkrieg as he clobbered 25 runs off pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi in the final over of the innings to take the total to 192/3, eventually helping RCB win by a massive 67 runs.
The two knocks were preceded by three single digit scores — 0 vs SRH, 6 vs Rajasthan Royals and 2 vs Gujarat Titans – in RCB’s three consecutive losses. But no one in the RCB camp would have lost sleep over that. Being a finisher is the toughest batting job. The batter has to hammer and tongs from the word go. There’s no time to settle in, no luxury to pick a particular bowler to go after and in chase there is constant scoreboard pressure.
DK IN IPL 2022 SO FAR
Karthik started this year’s IPL campaign with four unbeaten knocks, which coincided with the confident start by his new team RCB, who earlier registered three wins on the trot after losing their opener against Punjab Kings. The experienced batter scored 97 runs in his first four innings at a terrific strike rate of 210.87. In two of them, he took RCB home with his calm finishing acts – vs Kolkata Knight Riders, they needed 7 off 6 balls with 3 wickets in hand and Karthik (14* off 7) smacked a six and a four off Andre Russell’s first two balls of the final over to win the game; and vs RR, Karthik scored a match-winning 44* off 23 balls to win his first of two Man-of-the-Match awards so far.
After a defeat against CSK in their fifth game, RCB bounced back for their fourth win riding on Karthik’s brilliant 66* off 34 balls against the Delhi Capitals for which the wicketkeeper-batter got his second MoM award. Karthik (13* off 8) was again unbeaten in the next game against Lucknow Super Giants which RCB won by 18 runs.

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Dinesh Karthik (BCCI/IPL Photo)
Karthik’s IPL 2022 Record so far: M 12 | I 12 | NO 8 | R 274 | HS 66* | Ave. 68.50 | SR 200.00 | 1x50s | 21x6s | 21x4s
WILL WE SEE DINESH KARTHIK IN AN INDIA JERSEY AGAIN?
Karthik believes he can, and has already expressed the desire to don the India colors again.
“The bigger vision is that I want to play for the country. I know there is a World Cup around the corner. I want to be part of that World Cup desperately and help India cross that line. It’s been a long time since India won a multi-nation tournament. I want to be that person who is helping India do that. For that, you need to be aware of so many things, try to be that player who people think ‘hey this guy is doing something special,'” Karthik said earlier.
“The way I have trained has been different. I was telling myself I am not done yet. I have a goal and I want to achieve something,” Karthik had said earlier in the tournament. “I made a conscious effort to do justice to myself. Felt I could have done better in the last few years.”
And his performances so far have caught the attention of former India chief coach Ravi Shastri too, who believes Karthik surely will be in the mix for India’s T20 World Cup squad.
“With the amount of cricket being played and with the injuries that can take place, if you have a good IPL season which I feel he is right in thinking in that fashion. He has started off really hot and if he has a crackerjack of a season, surely he will be in that mix,” said Ravi Shastri while speaking to ESPNcricinfo.
“He has got the experience, he has got all the shots…there is no Dhoni in the side now so you are looking at a finisher as well. But you also have to see how many keepers you want – there’s Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant and now there’s Karthik. And if there’s an injury there, then he comes in automatically,” Shastri added.
‘THE REAL WORK IS DONE IN THE LEAD-UP’
Legendary Indian batsman and former captain Sunil Gavaskar disclosed, during commentary in the ongoing IPL, that Karthik had explained to him how he has been training to be more effective at this stage of his career – about his mindset and how he visualizes playing various T20 strokes .
Karthik tries simulating different situations which can come up during a game as part of his training.
“I have made an effort to play white-ball cricket, practice matches and scenarios. Those are the hours you put in when no one sees. The real work is done in the lead-up, which is what I’ll give credit to . You have to premeditate in T20, but if it’s not there, you have to have the ability to change the shot,” Karthik had told Gavaskar.

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Dinesh Karthik (BCCI/IPL Photo)
DINESH KARTHIK’S INTERNATIONAL CAREER SO FAR
Incredibly, it’s been almost 18 years since DK made his India, debuting way back in 2004 as a teenager. But the wicketkeeper batter has time and again failed to really cement his place in Team India, despite being a strong performer in the domestic circuit. First it was the presence of MS Dhoni, who made sure that Karthik was looked upon as a stop gap arrangement at best. Then below-par outings in India colours, whenever he got the opportunity, did not allow him to stay in the team for long periods of time.
Karthik has now left behind red-ball cricket to concentrate on white-ball formats in his career’s twilight years.
The 36-year old last played for India in the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand (made 6 off 25 balls), the same as Dhoni, who has already hung up his boots from international cricket, but in his own words he is not done yet and wants to achieve more.
During most of his prime years, Karthik couldn’t play the role of keeper-batter easily in Team India due to the presence of Dhoni, both of whom incidentally made their T20I debut in India’s first ever shortest format game against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2006. There Karthik played as a lower order batter and won the first T20I man-of-the-match award for India for his 31 not out off 28 balls as India won the game by 6 wickets with just one ball to spare.
After being in and out of Team India, Karthik found himself in contention for the keeper batter spot again after the retirement of Dhoni from Tests in 2014, but he was pipped by Wriddhiman Saha, because many felt that Saha was a better stumper than him.

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Dinesh Karthik (AFP Photo)
Despite his stop-start international career, Karthik has represented Team India in a combined 152 matches across all three formats, scoring 3176 runs with the help of a century and 16 fifties. He has played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs and 32 T20Is so far.
Whether he makes it back to the Indian team or not, the soft spoken and very humble cricketer, who has also earned plaudits for his sharp, witty and entertaining cricket commentary in the past has been entertaining fans across the world greatly with his incredible strokeplay. And that is something RCB fans and cricket fans overall would like to see more of going ahead of this IPL season.
KARTHIK’S INTERNATIONAL RECORD:
Test: M 26 | I 42 | R 1025 | HS 129 | Av. 25.00 | 1x100s | 7x50s | Ct 57 | St 6
ODI: M 94 | I 79 | R 1752 | HS 79 | Av. 30.20 | 9x50s | Ct 64 | St 7
T20Is: M 32 | I 26 | R 399 | HS 48 | Av. 33.25 | SR 143.52 | Ct 14 | St 5

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