Zimbabwe v India, 4th ODI, Bulawayo July 31, 2013

Karthik wants to fire as specialist batsman

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Such is MS Dhoni's value as a player, it takes two men to replace him. But while one of the talking points of this tour has been how well Virat Kohli might fill Dhoni's shoes as captain, rather fewer people have been discussing Dinesh Karthik's merits as a wicketkeeper-batsman.

If Karthik had it his own way, however, his keeping wouldn't be a factor. Of all people, Karthik knows that the keeper's gloves belong to Dhoni for the foreseeable future and so he has set his sights on proving his worth as a batsman for India in all three formats.

"It's not something I've ever felt bad about because I feel it's a great opportunity playing with [Dhoni]," Karthik said. "I've always looked at myself [as someone who] can play as a batsman in this side and that's what I'm looking to do - play as a batsman in all three formats of the game."

It was his batting as a teenager that first attracted the selectors' attention, and once again the runs he scored during a fruitful IPL season with Mumbai Indians led to his recall in a simplified batting role for the Champions Trophy in June - his first games for India in three years. Karthik has also benefitted from some minor tweaks to his batting technique which have aided his balance at the crease.

"I feel I have the technique," Karthik said. "It's important that every time I get an opportunity I pile up the runs and make sure I do well as a batsman. We won the Champions Trophy and that was great. West Indies was a quiet time, but Zimbabwe again in the two innings I've played I've done well."

Yet, Karthik's figures do not quite convince. Since his return in England, Karthik has scored two fifties in 11 innings. Although the runs haven't begun to flow just yet, on a few occasions since his recall Karthik had shown he has the ability to absorb pressure in the middle order after the loss of early wickets. Most recently, he entered the fray during the second ODI at Harare with India wobbling at 65 for 4. He didn't need as much luck as his partner Shikhar Dhawan, who was dropped twice and caught off a no ball, and compiled a tidy 69 that helped set a match-winning total. His reaction to pressure situations like that will be key to Karthik's future.

"I'm looking forward to these things," he said. "It's important that you keep putting in performances every time you go into bat and be as consistent as you can, and that's something I'm really looking forward to doing."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    As a wicket keeper , Karthik has a better technique but tends to get flashy at times. As a batsman , Karthik has a better technique but he can never be as imposing as Dhoni . On the whole , Dhoni scores more marks for his ability to impose himself on the opposition team . In any case , as a WK or as a batsman , Karthik is way ahead of Saha,Patel or any other challenging for the back up keeper . It is also a fact that Karthik has not been given a long run like Raina.Rohit,Yuvaraj and several others .

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | July 31, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    My advise to Karthik is to perform consistently well if he wants a place in the XI as a batsman. There are so many talented batsmen that are knocking at the door & each one of them is just as keen to succeed. In order to outdo the competition, consistent disciplined batting is crucial. Currently India has in Dhawan, Pujara & Kohli 3 batsmen who are consistently good & reliable. Indian batting will be built around these 3. This leaves the room open for an opening batting partner for Dhawan + 1 or 2 more batsmen. Dhoni will bat #6. Jadeja @#7 will be competing with Yuvraj for the all rounder spot in the Tests. So it is clear that there are a host of batsmen competing for just 3 spots. Rohit has to prove himself as an opener & may be competing with Vijay & Mukund. Karthik as one shot at this spot. In the middle order Pujara & Kohli will bat #3 & 4. #5 spot is open for competition again. Karthik can lay his claims at this spot along with many others. Most consistent batsmanwins the spot.

  • POSTED BY itsthewayuplay on | August 1, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    There seems to to be an obsession for all-rounders in all formats but if bowlers are taking wickets and batsmen are scoring runs why do they have to be all-rounders? Anyone who has played as wicketkeeper knows that it is the most physically demanding position and requires the highest level of fitness and concentration. Keepers should be focused on catching skills because dropped catches can cost matches and any runs the batsman goes on to make could more than offset any runs the WK makes. There have been fewer more valuable players than Dhoni in the sorter format. But question marks remain over his contribution with the bat in tests. But that's all right because as keeper and captain, India should not have to rely on him to make runs as well. Are England going to drop Anderson because he can't bat or SA drop Amla because he can't bowl? Karthik should be judged on his batting only otherwise all batsmen would have to be judged on their bowling and keeping.

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | August 1, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Yes, even Manoj Tiwari, Manish Pandey, Jiwanjot singh etc etc want to fire as batsmen, but they hardly get the chance. As a wicketkeeper batsman, Karthik is not a bad option, and that too when Dhoni has been rested or is unable to play. For a specialist bastman, Karthik is simply not good enough. Rahane and Pujara are better than him, and not getting a chance to play. In tests, Rohit Sharma could be better than Karthik (based on first class results) and is yet to get a chance. Also waiting are Badrinath etc who are clearly better test bastmen than Karthik. I would also like to see a few chances being given to people like Gautam (the karnatak wk) so that we can see what stuff he is made of.

  • POSTED BY Shajahan.P on | August 1, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Karthik just made his come back. why some people are induxing about his overall career record? that too he played 10 yrs back.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    Every player tries his best 2 represent his country. So karthik aspiring the same is obvious. As for his capabilities i am not sure. But reading through so many comments chopping players here & there by the fans 2 bring their own favourites, i realise how tough a selectors job is.

  • POSTED BY spot_on on | August 1, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    eh !!! I would prefer DK over Rohit for an opener slot. Look at this guy, Rohit!!! totally clueless against decent bowling sides. Dk can see the new ball well than this overrated Mumbaikar. DK saved MI's rear many times in this IPL. Dk was in contention for over a decade now. Give this guy a proper slot and see him shine.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Both Karthik and Parthiv are about 4 years younger than Dhoni. As well as they made their debut before Dhoni. Yet Dhoni went far ahead of these two. Regarding Parthiv I feel he was blooded tooo early in career as we don't see many to succeed at the age of 17. Karthik was a bit mature when he came but his batting was not that imposing. Then comes MSD at the age of 23-24 which IMO is the apt age to made debut. He then starts thrashing all the bowlers scoring 2 big ODI hundreds and thus bringing question mark about Karthik's and Parthiv's careers. MSD soon became the captain making it tougher for these 2 keepers. Whenever Dhoni missed any matches, these 2 players were brought in as substitution but failed to make mark to stay even just as a pure batsman.

    Now only hope is if Dhoni retires after 2015 WC, then anyone of them can play as keeper also for about 2-3 years.

  • POSTED BY YGSEETHARAM on | August 1, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Dinesh Karthik, is a solid attacking batsman and should open the innings instead of Rohit Sharma, who disappoints his fans again and again. Let Rohit fight to get a spot in the lower order.

  • POSTED BY vsssarma on | August 1, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    In the last 2 years, India played 36 ODI players. How did the Indian ODI batsmen dominate opposition's bowling ? Let us look at the batting performance index (marks per match) of Indian ODI batsmen:

    Dhawan 59.5 Kohli 45.7 Tiwary 41.8 Dhoni 40.4 Gambhir 34.6 Yuvraj 32.8 Raina 32.3 Rayudu 29.9 Tendulkar 28.8 Rohit Sharma 28.5 Sehwag 26.8 Dravid 22 Irfan Pathan 21 Jadeja 20.5 Rahane 20.1 Karthik 19.3 Parthiv Patel 15.4 Vijay 14.1 Mithun 11.2 Ashwin 9.7 Bhuvanesh Kumar 6.6 Amit Mishra 5.3 Vinay Kumar 4.7 Praveen Kumar 4.4 Aaron 3.4 Umesh Yadav 2.6 Ishant Sharma 2.3 Md.Shami 2 Rahul Sharma 1.7 Dinda 1 Ojha 0.1 Unadkat, RP Singh, MM Patel, YK Pathan - All zero.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 3:38 GMT

    As a wicket keeper , Karthik has a better technique but tends to get flashy at times. As a batsman , Karthik has a better technique but he can never be as imposing as Dhoni . On the whole , Dhoni scores more marks for his ability to impose himself on the opposition team . In any case , as a WK or as a batsman , Karthik is way ahead of Saha,Patel or any other challenging for the back up keeper . It is also a fact that Karthik has not been given a long run like Raina.Rohit,Yuvaraj and several others .

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | July 31, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    My advise to Karthik is to perform consistently well if he wants a place in the XI as a batsman. There are so many talented batsmen that are knocking at the door & each one of them is just as keen to succeed. In order to outdo the competition, consistent disciplined batting is crucial. Currently India has in Dhawan, Pujara & Kohli 3 batsmen who are consistently good & reliable. Indian batting will be built around these 3. This leaves the room open for an opening batting partner for Dhawan + 1 or 2 more batsmen. Dhoni will bat #6. Jadeja @#7 will be competing with Yuvraj for the all rounder spot in the Tests. So it is clear that there are a host of batsmen competing for just 3 spots. Rohit has to prove himself as an opener & may be competing with Vijay & Mukund. Karthik as one shot at this spot. In the middle order Pujara & Kohli will bat #3 & 4. #5 spot is open for competition again. Karthik can lay his claims at this spot along with many others. Most consistent batsmanwins the spot.

  • POSTED BY itsthewayuplay on | August 1, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    There seems to to be an obsession for all-rounders in all formats but if bowlers are taking wickets and batsmen are scoring runs why do they have to be all-rounders? Anyone who has played as wicketkeeper knows that it is the most physically demanding position and requires the highest level of fitness and concentration. Keepers should be focused on catching skills because dropped catches can cost matches and any runs the batsman goes on to make could more than offset any runs the WK makes. There have been fewer more valuable players than Dhoni in the sorter format. But question marks remain over his contribution with the bat in tests. But that's all right because as keeper and captain, India should not have to rely on him to make runs as well. Are England going to drop Anderson because he can't bat or SA drop Amla because he can't bowl? Karthik should be judged on his batting only otherwise all batsmen would have to be judged on their bowling and keeping.

  • POSTED BY jimbond on | August 1, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    Yes, even Manoj Tiwari, Manish Pandey, Jiwanjot singh etc etc want to fire as batsmen, but they hardly get the chance. As a wicketkeeper batsman, Karthik is not a bad option, and that too when Dhoni has been rested or is unable to play. For a specialist bastman, Karthik is simply not good enough. Rahane and Pujara are better than him, and not getting a chance to play. In tests, Rohit Sharma could be better than Karthik (based on first class results) and is yet to get a chance. Also waiting are Badrinath etc who are clearly better test bastmen than Karthik. I would also like to see a few chances being given to people like Gautam (the karnatak wk) so that we can see what stuff he is made of.

  • POSTED BY Shajahan.P on | August 1, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Karthik just made his come back. why some people are induxing about his overall career record? that too he played 10 yrs back.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    Every player tries his best 2 represent his country. So karthik aspiring the same is obvious. As for his capabilities i am not sure. But reading through so many comments chopping players here & there by the fans 2 bring their own favourites, i realise how tough a selectors job is.

  • POSTED BY spot_on on | August 1, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    eh !!! I would prefer DK over Rohit for an opener slot. Look at this guy, Rohit!!! totally clueless against decent bowling sides. Dk can see the new ball well than this overrated Mumbaikar. DK saved MI's rear many times in this IPL. Dk was in contention for over a decade now. Give this guy a proper slot and see him shine.

  • POSTED BY on | August 1, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Both Karthik and Parthiv are about 4 years younger than Dhoni. As well as they made their debut before Dhoni. Yet Dhoni went far ahead of these two. Regarding Parthiv I feel he was blooded tooo early in career as we don't see many to succeed at the age of 17. Karthik was a bit mature when he came but his batting was not that imposing. Then comes MSD at the age of 23-24 which IMO is the apt age to made debut. He then starts thrashing all the bowlers scoring 2 big ODI hundreds and thus bringing question mark about Karthik's and Parthiv's careers. MSD soon became the captain making it tougher for these 2 keepers. Whenever Dhoni missed any matches, these 2 players were brought in as substitution but failed to make mark to stay even just as a pure batsman.

    Now only hope is if Dhoni retires after 2015 WC, then anyone of them can play as keeper also for about 2-3 years.

  • POSTED BY YGSEETHARAM on | August 1, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Dinesh Karthik, is a solid attacking batsman and should open the innings instead of Rohit Sharma, who disappoints his fans again and again. Let Rohit fight to get a spot in the lower order.

  • POSTED BY vsssarma on | August 1, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    In the last 2 years, India played 36 ODI players. How did the Indian ODI batsmen dominate opposition's bowling ? Let us look at the batting performance index (marks per match) of Indian ODI batsmen:

    Dhawan 59.5 Kohli 45.7 Tiwary 41.8 Dhoni 40.4 Gambhir 34.6 Yuvraj 32.8 Raina 32.3 Rayudu 29.9 Tendulkar 28.8 Rohit Sharma 28.5 Sehwag 26.8 Dravid 22 Irfan Pathan 21 Jadeja 20.5 Rahane 20.1 Karthik 19.3 Parthiv Patel 15.4 Vijay 14.1 Mithun 11.2 Ashwin 9.7 Bhuvanesh Kumar 6.6 Amit Mishra 5.3 Vinay Kumar 4.7 Praveen Kumar 4.4 Aaron 3.4 Umesh Yadav 2.6 Ishant Sharma 2.3 Md.Shami 2 Rahul Sharma 1.7 Dinda 1 Ojha 0.1 Unadkat, RP Singh, MM Patel, YK Pathan - All zero.

  • POSTED BY vsssarma on | August 1, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    Dhoni played 40 ODIs in the last 2 years; scored at an average of 52.36 and a strike rate of 91.

    Dhoni played 13 ODIs in the last 2 years; scored at an average of 24.50 and a strike rate of 71.

    Dhoni effected 1.15 catches & stumpings per match against Karthik's 0.92.

    As per my DMAC system,

    As a batsman: Dhoni 40.4 marks; Karthik 19.3

    As a bowler: Dhoni 0.6 marks; Karthik 0

    As a fielder: Dhoni 49.1 marks; Karthik 38.5

    As a overall ODI player: Dhoni 39.4 marks; Karthik 21.3

    Karthik must know playing International cricket for the country is much harder than playing club cricket like IPL. As Sunil Gavaskar said, one should have a pride to play for one's country and put a price on one's wicket.

  • POSTED BY roversgate on | July 31, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    @Alexk400: You can't expect Karthik to score centuries when he comes at #5 or below. All that matters is he score according to the match situation. If he has time in the match then rotate strike regularly and keep wicket intact till last 5 overs. If he comes late in the match then maximize score.

    Also, Karthik should not make the Test XI. Rahane, R. Sharma, M. Tiwary and even S. Badrinath should get that opportunity ahead of Karthik. If all of them are injured then get Saha in as a specialist batsmen, if he is to take over from Dhoni then Saha needs international batting experience.

  • POSTED BY AvidCricFan on | July 31, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    People clamoring for DK over Raina and Rohit Sharma, should just look at the records of all three. DK has the worse record of the three. He has scored 7 50's in 65 ODIs with no century. This is a fifty plus score in 9.3 matches. His strike rate is just below 74. Rohit Sharma has scored 19 fifty plus scores including two centuries in 101 ODIs with overall strike rate just under 75. This equates to a fifty plus score in 5.3 matches. Raina has 31 fifty plus scores that includes 3 100s in 172 ODIs at a strike rate of 91 plus. The career ODI averages of Karthik is 27.8, Sharma 31.5 and Raina 35.9. It clearly shows Raina is way ahead of Karthik and Sharma. In my opinion, both Karthik and Rohit Sharma have been given ample chances that they have failed to capitalized on.

  • POSTED BY jaggi.jagan on | July 31, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    He is the best to back up Dhoni in the Indian squad, not Saha or Patel.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 31, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    He needs to grind and make centuries. Only centuries that gives him spot and peace of mind. No centuries , you will be discarded if you want to be specialist batsman. Centuries gives extra 2-3 test. :)

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | July 31, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Karthick (DK) and Jaffer helped us compete against South Africa in 2006 and helped us win against England in 2007. One bad series and they were discarded like rotten eggs. Compare that to how many chances players like Raina, Rohit, Yuvi (in tests), Sehwag, Gambhir and Tendulkar have gotten in last 2 years, in spite of failing in multiple test series. On current form (not past performances), DK is better than Tendulkar, and Wasim Jaffer is better than Sehwag.

  • POSTED BY LAKingsFan on | July 31, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    Nothing against him. But he doesn't impose himself into the game whenever he gets a chance. He has to spend a lot time and play as much deliveries as possible when he's in the middle. Hope he makes a difference in tomorrow's match. If you take Raina, he hardly spends time in the middle, but once he does, he blazes through. I don't see that with Karthik. Good luck to Karthik.

  • POSTED BY kalyanbk on | July 31, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    While Dhoni is the complete package, I still feel that Karthik is the more agile wicket keeper. He has faster footwork and covers greater ground when going for catches. I sometimes feel that Dhoni needs to work on his keeping footwork and coverage especially when the ball flies between the keeper and a slightly wide slip.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | July 31, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    This man is a serious player ! I mean, he's got the right attitude and technique to shine at international level. Compare him to Raina, who is fickle at best, with a string of inconsistent performances in recent times. Plus, Karthik is a much better test batsman than Raina. So I am sure the selectors are looking at a possible no.6 replacement to Sourav Ganguly in test cricket which we haven't had since the great man retired. So good luck to Dinesh and hope he continues his wonderful form. He doesn't have to prove anything to anyone any more and should simply go out and play freely.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | July 31, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Karthik will ahve competition from Rayudu and others. He needs to pile up run to stake a claim

  • POSTED BY Raj12345 on | July 31, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Let us stop complaining about DK. Let us see what Raina & RG did in past 3 years, then everyone will know who need to be dropped first and not DK. Raina can't hold place as a best fielder anymore. I am sure Raina will be dropped from test XI and Karthik will be given a chance.

  • POSTED BY parthaacs on | July 31, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Please give him a chance. When players like Raina, Rohit, (yuvi in tests) are given so many chances then why not for him. He played a crucial opener slot in England in 2007 and helped us win the series and still got discarded soon.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    I feel DK deserves position as no.4 batsman of regular Indian team not only in odi but also in test. He definitely proved his worth when the team was under trouble.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    It won't help him if everytime he goes out to bat, that he needs to prove himself something. Karthik has the technique and the temperament, but he needs to go out there face every ball as it comes, enjoy it and the big scores won't elude him for sure. Good luck, brother.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    It won't help him if everytime he goes out to bat, that he needs to prove himself something. Karthik has the technique and the temperament, but he needs to go out there face every ball as it comes, enjoy it and the big scores won't elude him for sure. Good luck, brother.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    I feel DK deserves position as no.4 batsman of regular Indian team not only in odi but also in test. He definitely proved his worth when the team was under trouble.

  • POSTED BY parthaacs on | July 31, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Please give him a chance. When players like Raina, Rohit, (yuvi in tests) are given so many chances then why not for him. He played a crucial opener slot in England in 2007 and helped us win the series and still got discarded soon.

  • POSTED BY Raj12345 on | July 31, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Let us stop complaining about DK. Let us see what Raina & RG did in past 3 years, then everyone will know who need to be dropped first and not DK. Raina can't hold place as a best fielder anymore. I am sure Raina will be dropped from test XI and Karthik will be given a chance.

  • POSTED BY Batmanindallas on | July 31, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Karthik will ahve competition from Rayudu and others. He needs to pile up run to stake a claim

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | July 31, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    This man is a serious player ! I mean, he's got the right attitude and technique to shine at international level. Compare him to Raina, who is fickle at best, with a string of inconsistent performances in recent times. Plus, Karthik is a much better test batsman than Raina. So I am sure the selectors are looking at a possible no.6 replacement to Sourav Ganguly in test cricket which we haven't had since the great man retired. So good luck to Dinesh and hope he continues his wonderful form. He doesn't have to prove anything to anyone any more and should simply go out and play freely.

  • POSTED BY kalyanbk on | July 31, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    While Dhoni is the complete package, I still feel that Karthik is the more agile wicket keeper. He has faster footwork and covers greater ground when going for catches. I sometimes feel that Dhoni needs to work on his keeping footwork and coverage especially when the ball flies between the keeper and a slightly wide slip.

  • POSTED BY LAKingsFan on | July 31, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    Nothing against him. But he doesn't impose himself into the game whenever he gets a chance. He has to spend a lot time and play as much deliveries as possible when he's in the middle. Hope he makes a difference in tomorrow's match. If you take Raina, he hardly spends time in the middle, but once he does, he blazes through. I don't see that with Karthik. Good luck to Karthik.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | July 31, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Karthick (DK) and Jaffer helped us compete against South Africa in 2006 and helped us win against England in 2007. One bad series and they were discarded like rotten eggs. Compare that to how many chances players like Raina, Rohit, Yuvi (in tests), Sehwag, Gambhir and Tendulkar have gotten in last 2 years, in spite of failing in multiple test series. On current form (not past performances), DK is better than Tendulkar, and Wasim Jaffer is better than Sehwag.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 31, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    He needs to grind and make centuries. Only centuries that gives him spot and peace of mind. No centuries , you will be discarded if you want to be specialist batsman. Centuries gives extra 2-3 test. :)