Sri Lanka tri-series 2010 August 25, 2010

Play Dinesh Karthik in the middle order

India should stop using Dinesh Karthik as back-up for multiple purposes and give him a run in his natural role - that of a middle order batsman
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Ever since the explosive MS Dhoni became India's first-choice wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik has evolved into India's all-purpose back-up man. Virender Sehwag out of form three years ago? Bring in Karthik as opener for tough series in South Africa and England. Concerns over Dhoni's fitness ahead of any series? Bring in Karthik as the reserve wicketkeeper. Any batsman indisposed for one-dayers? Bring in Karthik to plug the gap.

In the first 21 innings of his one-day career, Karthik played in every position from opener to No. 7. For his state side, Tamil Nadu, he has long been a successful middle-order batsman. After four failures at the top in Dambulla, perhaps the time has come for Karthik to insist on being picked for his natural role, competing with the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for a middle-order spot. If there is a need for an opening batsman, India should groom a specialist back-up, someone like M Vijay.

Dhoni has spoken of the pressures on Rohit, since he is never sure of being in the side. The argument is more apt for Karthik: in the six years since his debut, Karthik has never been a part of the team for more than 12 matches at a stretch. His current six-game run as opener, after flying in as Sehwag's replacement during the Asia Cup, equals his longest spell at a fixed batting slot.

The present, relatively long stint with the national squad is on the back of a Man-of-the-Match performance in the Asia Cup final. But playing him out of position at the top of the order is doing neither him nor the team any good. His confidence is taking a beating and the team isn't getting off to solid starts.

Two poor umpiring decisions haven't helped Karthik either - he was given out lbw in the opening match against New Zealand and caught behind against Sri Lanka on Sunday. Both dismissals sparked dire batting collapses that left India facing a must-win encounter against New Zealand.

When the big boys - Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir - return to the top order, Karthik may or may not retain his spot in the squad as a reserve wicketkeeper. But before discarding him again, Karthik deserves to be given a decent run in the middle order to see whether he has what it takes. His career numbers match those of other contenders like Rohit, who at least had the opportunity of a one-year unbroken run in the middle order before being dropped.

Karthik's blend-in-any-role versatility has so far helped him remain on the international scene despite being usurped as the country's No. 1 wicketkeeper. He's still only a fringe player, though, and for him to become a more integral part of the side, he should look at making a niche in the batting position he is most comfortable with. The competition might be tight for that slot, but much of the competition hasn't distinguished itself in the international arena yet.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 26, 2010, 22:15 GMT

    Try other Players!!!!!!!!11

  • dummy4fb on August 26, 2010, 18:53 GMT

    Kohli made his debut as a opener, why hasn't he been tried again or may be Jadeja can be tried as well.

  • kavadikiran on August 26, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    Dear Mr. Srikanth. Looking at the present ODI side & their performance, i bet this team cant perform well in hard conditions & tough opponents. Its high time to think positive & make some strong decisions as the WC2011 is nearing. During the conditioning camp for Australian Series select a side of 25 keeping WC in mind. Let the side train hard in NCA on fittness. Equal opportuinities can be provided for all players in the tournments coming up The side probably should be like this Openers - Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambir Middle Order - Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj singh, Suresh Raina, Cheteshwar Pujara Late Middle Order - Robin Utthappa,Yousuf pathan, Manish Pandey Wicket Keeper - MS Dhoni All rounders - R.Ashwin, Irfan Pathan Spinners - Harbhajan Singh, Murli Kartik, Pragyan Ohja, Amit Mishra Seemers - Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Munaf Patel, Ishanth Sharma

  • SathyamoorthyNagarajan on August 26, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Its glad to see the Indian team making to the finals of srilanka tri series quite comfortably at the same time it is disheartening to see that except viru none of the Indian batsmen were able to bat with poise and composure. Yuvraj singh is a greater striker of the ball and most of the time he comes in the team is under pressure and so he is, for a change yuvraj can be asked to open the innings along with sehwag, given his potential to rip apart the fast bowlers.Not to forget most of the team open their bowling attack only with fast bowlers. Lets hope for a change in the Indian batting order...............

  • dummy4fb on August 26, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    the need of trying out rohit for more tym now is he is a batsmen who is capable of turning matches into india's favor .... he deserves a place in indian team coz of this ... take example of sehwag ... during his early days for the indian team he was not that effective batsmen .... but now he is one of d most important member of the squad after the likes of sachin ! the important thing for him now is to work his disability's into his abilities & prove his talent once again... trying out virat kohli also is a good option .... there's no one lyk in d team who dont deserve to be in ... all deserve it ...but getting in saurabh tiwary , pathan bro's & robin uthappa is a real valid option ... if there r constant failures in d current squad ....

  • Hotyogi on August 26, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    So India will find a way to win in the finals using some incredible individual performance (Sehwag / Dhoni with the bat or Praveen with the ball) and then all will be forgotten. Do the selectors have the kahones to do the right thing. Drop Jadeja, Karthik, Yuvraj (okay i said it) and bring in deserving youngsters like Mithun, Dhawan, Pujara and stick it out with Kohli and Raina. This is the backbone of our team for the next 2-5 years, its time for them to get their breaks NOW. ....I would say on overall form we are the third best team in the subcontinent...This indian team is NOT going to win the world cup so lets not kid ourselves....but India WILL WIN and the partying will continue until the next debacle....sheesh...i wish India played another sport well for me to support...

  • haisreekanthnk on August 26, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    My team for wc11 1)sachin2)sewag3)gambir4)raina5)yuvi/kohli6)dhoni7)jadeja8)harbhajan9)pk10)zak11)nehra12)yuvi/kohli13)kartik14)ishant/munaf15)oja. Then every body is criticisin kartik and jadeja. Especially jadu . That is not understandable cos he is very economical bowler in odis and also bat when needed and is a brilliant fielder . Then kartik is naturally a middleorder batsmen . Hecan be backup for wk also so he will remain in 15 member squad . He has been doin verywell in middle order for delhi. Jadeja inclusion in t20 not acceptible but defenitely he will be there in odis .

  • wolf777 on August 26, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    Karthik has a problem playing when the ball starts moving. Sending him in the middle order is not going to solve that problem. He has been given too many chances to prove himself and has never performed on a consistent basis that is why he finds himself being dropped. He has now played fair bit of international cricket to be a known quantity on the circuit. He has been found out and more often than not international teams would exploit his weakness no matter where he plays. It would be much better to invest in all rounders like Pathan brothers in the middle order than someone like Dinesh Karthik who has limited other usefulness

  • dummy4fb on August 26, 2010, 13:15 GMT

    hey dont forget abinav mukundh ..he s best choice ..see his domestic records

  • keshtopatel on August 26, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    Dravid for one dayers! A big no....The guy is aged, hardly makes 25 to 30 runs, that also picking and choosing every ball....He has a dismal striking rate....In one day you eed hard hitters who score fast a la virendra Sehwag......you can not win the world cup with slow run rate. Period.

    So on above account, Dravid should not be touched even with barg pole - He is a wall, let him remain a wall and stay.

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