Batting legend Sunil ‘Sunny’ Gavaskar reckons that Dinesh Karthik can play the role of a finisher for the Indian team in the T20 World Cup later this year.
Karthik, 36, has been in prime form for his new IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore this season. The former Kolkata Knight Riders skipper has produced effective knocks of 32, 14, 44, 7, 34, 66 and 13 at an astonishing strike-rate of 205.88. By remaining unbeaten in six of the seven innings, he is averaging 210.00.
“He said he wants to be a part of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup. So what I am saying is don’t look at his age, just look at what he’s producing,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.
Karthik’s best this season (66 not out from 34 balls) came against Delhi Capitals in their last outing when he took on the experienced Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman and Indian left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed with his strokeplay to power them to a match-winning 189/5.
RCB won the match by 16 runs and Karthik was adjudged Man of the Match.
“He’s just changing the complexion of the game with his performance. He’s doing it for his team. He’s doing the job that you can expect him to do at number 6 or 7 at the (T20) World Cup (in October-November),” Gavaskar said.
Former RCB star AB de Villiers has also been left awestruck by Karthik’s form as he had last seen the wicket-keeper batter commentating in the UK.
“I was incredibly surprised and I didn’t expect it. I have always known that he is a very capable player, a nitty-gritty kind of a guy. He likes the high-pressure situations and he’s a busy player at the wicket. But he hasn’t played a lot of cricket.
“The last time I saw him before the IPL he was commentating in the UK. He wasn’t playing a lot of domestic cricket and I thought he is possibly at the end of his career. But he surprised us all I think with the intent and energy,” De Villiers said on VUSports streaming.
A veteran of 26 Tests, 94 ODIs and 32 T20Is, Karthik last played for India in the heartbreaking semi-final loss to New Zealand in the 2019 ICC World Cup.
(Written with agency inputs)