Champions Trophy 2013 May 4, 2013

Versatile Karthik ready for any role


Ever since he burst on to the domestic scene as a teenager more than a decade ago, Dinesh Karthik has been considered as a prodigious talent with the bat. Add to it his skills as a wicketkeeper and exceptional fielder and he becomes an all-round package.

But without consistent performances, talent doesn't get you too far. As a result, it wasn't a surprise when Karthik was dropped from the Indian team after an ordinary outing during the tri-series in Dambulla where he scored 33 runs in five innings against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Similarly, after a season in which Karthik was at his consistent best, nobody was surprised when Karthik returned to India's squad for the Champions Trophy, to be played in England from June 6. Even the man himself wasn't surprised.

"I am happy about it [selection]. I've been batting well and it feels good when your efforts are rewarded," Karthik said. He has been in exceptional touch while batting at No. 3 for Mumbai Indians during the IPL - 331 runs in 10 matches at a strike-rate of almost 140 - and it has come at the back of a run-heavy domestic season.

In the season-opening Corporate Trophy, he emerged as the highest run-getter with 301 runs from three innings for India Cements. Then in the Ranji Trophy, even though it was a disappointing season for Tamil Nadu, Karthik was by far their top scorer with 577 runs at 64.11.

Then came the domestic one-dayers. And even though Tamil Nadu failed to progress to the all-India knockouts of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Karthik scored at least a fifty in each of his five innings. As a result, despite playing only five games, he finished as the second-highest run-scorer of the tournament.

"All along [these three years], I have been working hard in domestic cricket," he said. "I have been trying to be as consistent as possible. And it feels good enough to score virtually every time I bat these days."

The confidence drawn from such consistency means Karthik wasn't weighed down at the prospect of replacing an ODI stalwart like Yuvraj Singh. Though Karthik hasn't yet been spoken to either by the selectors or team management about his specific role in the team, the squad composition hints that he may well be required to bat in the middle order. And he is up for the challenge. "That is what I have done even earlier, so I am ready to play any role that the team management expects of me - whether a specialist batsman or a keeper-batsman."

Over the last two years, Karthik has been working with his personal coach Prasanna Agoram, the South African national team's performance analyst. And the efforts have culminated in Karthik being recalled to the national squad, incidentally for a tour to the same country where Karthik made his international debut more than eight years ago.

"We had to make minor corrections to my batting techniques," Karthik said. "That has helped me immensely in order to be good enough to score every time I go out to bat. I would like to thank Prasanna and all my family members who have stood behind me during difficult times."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Don on May 8, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    I think the selection is extremely playing 11 would be 1) Shikar Dhawan 2) Kartik 3) Kohli 4) Raina 5) Rohit S 6) Dhoni 7)Jadeja 8) Irfan 9)Ashwain 10) Bhuvi 11)Umesh Yadav. If Kartik fails to perform then replace it with Murli V. Bhuvi scores over Vinay K and Umesh Yadav has more aggression then Ishant. I doubt Amit Mishra would get a game at the expense of Jadeja. I would have still loved to see Yuvi as he is a game changer

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    The best team would have been this one:

    D. Kartik, C.Pujara, V.Kohli, Y. Singh, MS Dhoni, S. Raina, I.Pathan, R. Jadeja, B.Kumar, P. Kumar, and Shami Ahmad. 1 seamer, 3 swing bowlers, 2 spinners or 3 if u count raina, batting right till no 10. technically strong top order both of whom r in form, and a established middle order.

  • Ajith Prasad on May 7, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    M Vijay is a T20 wonder and hence shouldn't be there in the scheme of things in ODIs or Tests especially outside India. I would think that India should open with Dinesh Karthik and Shikhar Dhawan. Even Rohit Sharma is an IPL wonder and never ever played well for India despite numerous chances given. He shouldn't have been picked, or may be this is his last chance to prove once for all!

    I still can't understand the cries from Yuvi and Sehwag fans - both these players have been hopeless recently with no fitness and form in the vicinity. And Gambhir with his poor mental state and sportsman spirit, don't deserve to come back.

  • Venky on May 7, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    @ravi_hari, I don't think you have got your facts right about Dinesh's overseas record. He was one of the reasons that India won the 2007 tour of England. As an opener, he was the highest scorer for India in that series. He along with Wasim Jaffer set up each innings which resulted in the series win under Dravid. Dinesh would have fared well under any other captain. With Dhoni given the captaincy, Dinesh was always perceived as a threat and he was sidelined. In the subsequent tour to Australia, Dinesh got to play only one tour game and he scored 90+ in that game. Dhoni played all the tests and all the other tour games too. He has the technique and the temperament to make it big if given the opportunity, which I doubt. His first failure will mean the end of Dinesh Karthik. Good luck, Dinesh!

  • Anil on May 6, 2013, 20:45 GMT

    @TRAM: I am sorry, but when did Vijay play an anchoring role successfully? In ODIs? Abroad? His inclusion in the recent Tests was debatable; good that he scored well. After that, even with ample opportunities in the IPL, he has been simply a mediocre. Please do not compare Test performances to ODIs or T20s. There are a very few who can effortlessly adjust among various formats, and they are the modern greats the game knows. Rest are specialists for just a format. And, Vijay is a specialist for none. Pujara should have been there. He is one guy who has the potential to play every format effectively.

  • Senthil on May 6, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    Grossly underutilised. He was thrust into a unfamiliar role of opener when he is a good middle order batsman. Never got even half the chances Rohit Sharma / Jadeja got. Lot better than Saha for sure.

  • hari on May 6, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    All promise and no performance has been the case with players like Karthik. He has his batch mate Rohit in the team as well. Many-a-time one has seen such talents blossom at domestic level & trial matches and fade out at international level. The reason could be over enthusiasm, lack of technique, over confidence or a mix of all of them. Karthik is definitely an asset to the team. However, can he deliver in English conditions with his technique? I think this team lacks quality in form of technique and we have a lot of impulse performers than quality players. Dhawan, Vijay, Karthik, Rohit, Jadeja all have weak records overseas. The side will be over dependent on Kohli and Dhoni and partly on Raina. It is a big risk they are taking and if it clicks, then India will return with the cup, nothing less. However, I doubt if India will make the knockouts. If Karthik needs to be utilised, I think he should open with Dhawan. He can use the first power play well and give quick starts for the side.

  • Naresh on May 6, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    @Vish2020 - you guys always take a swipe at Rohit Sharma. He has shown enough already in the IPL. Here is a batsman who can take on the best of bowlers like :- Lee, Steyn etc. With a change in his attitude he is the next "SACHIN" One big innings in tests will launch his career. Indian fans/selectors need patience with this guy.

  • Naresh on May 6, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    KARTHIK and DHAWAN should open for India in Champions trophy. Vijay has lost his confidence in the IPL. Remember the words of Greg Chappell on Karthik. As Nampally said Pujara should have been in the team in case things go wrong with our batsman on overseas tracks. Whatever happens in that tournament is going to have a big influence on the next test team to SA.