Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik played India’s first T20I game back in 2006, but it took him 16 years and 36 matches to score his maiden fifty in the shortest format. With India reeling at 81 for four at one stage, Karthik smashed 55 off just 27 balls, laying the foundation for India’s biggest win over South Africa in T20Is on Friday. Impressed by his knock in the fourth T20I against the Proteas, legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar lauded Karthik, saying that the player showed “great character and determination” to rescue India from a tricky position.
“People are talking that he won’t be able to click. How can you say that he is not going to be able to play. He could be the guy that you wanted. Look at the form, not reputations and names and you pick the guy,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports’ post-match show.
If the guy is getting runs down the order coming in the way he did when India looked down and out, it showed great character. It showed great determination and sense of purpose,”
Gavaskar also feels Karthik, considering his recent exploits with the bat, might get picked in India’s squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
“He doesn’t get too many opportunities. He bats down at six-seven. You can’t expect him to get fifties quite regularly. He’ll get you a good 40 off 20 deliveries, that’s what he has been doing consistently, and this time around he did exactly the same. That is the reason why he is contention for a place in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup,” he said.
Gavaskar further stated that the T20 World Cup in Australia might be Karthik’s last tournament for India, adding that the 37-year-old deserves to make the cut, considering his performance.
“He is desperate to play for India again and particularly in the World Cup. I think it’s pretty much certain that it might be his swansong (T20 World Cup). I know there is a 50-over World Cup next year and he might want to be available for that. Don’t look at the man’s age, look at the performance, and his performance was super class,” he added.
Karthik’s knock helped India score 169/6 and then Avesh Khan led an inspired bowling performance that saw South Africa slump to 87/9 with Temba Bavuma retiring hurt.
India defeated South Africa in the fourth T20I by 82 runs to level the five-match series 2-2.
The fifth and final T20I will be played in Bengaluru on Sunday.
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