Karthik’s Rajkot knock a vindication of his specific selection – Dravid

SOUTH AFRICA TOUR THROUGH INDIA, 2022

Dinesh Karthik hit a 27-ball 55 to push India to a winning total in the must-win fourth T20I.

Dinesh Karthik hit a 27-ball 55 to push India to a winning total in the must-win fourth T20I. © BCCI

India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, said goalkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik gave the selectors a sense of justification by bringing him to the national squad for South Africa’s five T20Is. Karthik’s comeback was due to his stunning batting numbers for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022 where he hit 330 runs with a strike rate of 183.3, including 251 runs in the death overs (16 to 20) with a SR of 207, 4. India’s quest to see if he could replicate those numbers for the national side was met with resounding success in the fourth T20I.

“He was chosen for a very specific skill,” Dravid said on Sunday. “He was picked for what he did exceptionally well over the last two to three years and it’s nice if that’s kind of confirmed in the sense that it came together almost brilliantly for us in that game in Rajkot where we needed that big performance in the last five overs to make a par score.”

Under erratic conditions in Rajkot where India’s top ranking had faltered, Karthik walked across the battle with the side at 81 for 4 and the series on the line in 13th. He took in the circumstances for a few overs before unleashing his run of shots from the 15th, against Anrich Nortje. It was the first of the three-over carnage for Karthik to take the lead as India went from 96 for 4 in 15 overs to 140 for 4 in 18. He hit 37 of 44 crushed runs in this span, having only 14 balls to do it – a stage that changed the game for India. A six on Dwaine Pretorius in the final took him to half a century, but more importantly, India to a defensible total.

“He and Hardik batted beautifully. Both are our enforcers in the end, guys who can take advantage of the last five-six overs, as well as anyone in the world. It’s really nice to see Karthik come and do what he’s chosen to do. So that’s good, it certainly opens up a lot more options for us in the future,” said Dravid.

India has plenty of T20 cricket to play between now and the World Cup in Australia in mid-October, but as they begin to bolster their squad, Karthik may have just put his best foot forward in his first real shot at the flagship.

“I told the boys to slam the door, it’s not about knocking on the door. A turn like that definitely means he’s knocking really hard,” Dravid said.

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