Home > Features >

Asia Cup 2014: Dinesh Karthik gets another chance to seal spot in Indian team

Since Dinesh Karthik can bat anywhere in the middle-order, depending on the situation, his flexibility could come in handy for India © AFP
Since Dinesh Karthik can bat anywhere in the middle-order, depending on the situation, his flexibility could come in handy for India © AFP

By Manish Madhusoodan

Preamble

I have been driving in the US for the past six years and have been lucky enough not use my Stepney, or the spare tire. At times I tend to forget that there is something called a jack and a spare tire in my trunk, I doubt if it is even present; that is how the roads of US make you agnostic about certain things. Something similar can be thought about the wicketkeeper’s position in the Indian team, which is currently held by MS Dhoni.

The Indian team plays a lot of cricket across all formats round the clock. Dhoni is fit and he never misses a single game due to injury or other reasons. He plays Tests, One-Day Internationals (ODI), T20Is and in the Indian Premier League (IPL) throughout the year. Once in a while he misses out on the not so high-profile series like the Asia Cup. Just like the backup tire, we tend to forget about the backup wicketkeeper. Now that Dhoni is resting his heels and recovering from a strain, this gives Dinesh Karthik yet another opportunity to cement his place in the team, first as the second choice wicketkeeper and second as a middle-order batsman.

Philosophy

If Virat Kohli is the leader of the top three, Dhoni is the crux of the bottom three in the Indian batting line-up. And in most chases it’s the performance of these two that determines the outcome of the game. Since the slump in Yuvraj Singh’s form and Suresh Raina’s lack-luster performances in ODIs, there lies a void in the Indian middle-order that needs to be filled in soon. This is adding too much pressure on Kohli and Dhoni to deliver, as India’s success is a function of their performance.

In the ODIs for India, the top-three and bottom-three are doing the bulk of the run-scoring; a stable and smooth middle-order is required, who could pass on the buck. Karthik with his bat can fill in the void; he has the right technique and experience to make that spot his own. Being a very busy cricketer, he can keep the scoreboard ticking and also shift gears when needed. The only thing that can be questioned is his temperament; at times he throws his wicket away.

Past

Though not a good parameter to judge someone, but the IPL does give a sneak into one’s temperament. Every time Mumbai Indians were in dire straits during IPL 2013, Karthik stood up, stabilised the ship and harbored the innings to a safe total. He played safe in the beginning and accelerated when the time was right. Perhaps the only blemish that we saw during the IPL was that his performance dropped dramatically as the tournament progressed. This was also evident in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 and the Zimbabwe tour. This, though, isn’t an unknown thing about Karthik. If we are thinking about a long tournament like the ICC World Cup 2015, Karthik could hamper the team’s plans, because he doesn’t maintain the same intensity throughout the tournament.

Dinesh Karthik will get a rare opportunity to don the wicket-keeping gloves for India during the Asia Cup 2014 © AFP
Dinesh Karthik will get a rare opportunity to don the wicket-keeping gloves for India during the Asia Cup 2014 © AFP

Glove Test

After the South Africa and New Zealand tours, India are set to play in the Asia Cup 2014 in Bangladesh, where the ball grips the surface after pitching. For the Asia Cup, Karthik would don the gloves and it would be a challenge for him to keep wickets against the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin on the pitches in Bangladesh where the bounce is on the lower side. If for anything else, Karthik is criticised for his flimsy glove work in the past, he gets too excited at times and doesn’t stay lower longer enough.

Numbers

In 2013, after his comeback, he has played in England, West Indies and Zimbabwe; and with the given opportunity he has scored two half-centuries in those 13 games — modest scores for someone who bats lower down the order. So this series is very important from a runs perspective, and it’s only runs that can give him an extended run. His recent domestic form looks fantastic, his double century in the lead up games was exceptional and his 91 against Karnataka was a face-saving act that rescued Rest of India in the first innings of the Irani Cup. So, he has form by his side and lot more in favor. He only needs to show decent performances and the rest would fall into place.

Beyond Asia Cup

Not reading much into Dhoni’s injury, working under the assumption that he would be back after the Asia Cup, if Karthik makes any mark with the bat, he could dream of making it back into the team purely as a batsman. He has hare like reflexes and sometimes a bit more than required. He anticipates the ball and pounces on it. He fits into the Dhoni’s scheme of things, being an excellent mover in the field and coupled with safe hands, it makes him an asset. Since he can bat anywhere in the middle order from No 4 to No 6, depending on the situation, his flexibility could come in handy.

Being only 28, he and India could think long-term, provided both think alike. Karthik is four years younger to Dhoni, so he has age by his side. He has been bought back by Delhi Daredevils for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore. So, post the Asia Cup, he can focus on doing well in the IPL and knock the selectors’ doors.

More can be talked about his future as India’s future wicketkeeper, but at the moment this is a chance for him and India to see what lies ahead of them.

(Manish Madhusoodan is a US-based software engineer who is a devotee of Test cricket. He blogs at desigiri.net)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 2 at Abu Dhabi: Pakistan reach 517/4 at tea

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Karnataka enter SK Acharya Memorial Trophy final

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Wriddhiman Saha fit for first ODI

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Cuttack curator says “dew factor” will come into play

MS Dhoni should remain India’s Test captain, says Adam Gilchrist

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Pakistan finish on top on Day 2 of 2nd Test vs Australia

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan birthday special: Some spectacular pictures of the former Miss World

Happy Halloween 2014: Top 5 movie character looks you can try this Halloween

Telecom Secretary to meet Vodafone, Airtel executives on November 5 to discuss problems in sector

Nokia’s Chennai plant not a part of the Microsoft deal, to shut shop tomorrow

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Raman and Ishita to get arrested!

Ayurvedic treatment: 7 types of Ayurvedic massage you should know about

Beauty Tip #43 — Get fuller-looking lips with home-made sugar scrub

Kumkum Bhagya: Will Tanu convince Abhi to marry her?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here