Having made his return to India’s limited-overs squad in October 2017, veteran batsman Dinesh Karthik is doing a fairly good job in the lower middle order. He became an overnight star after his last-ball six against Bangladesh that helped India clinch the Nidahas T20I tri-series in March.
After his heroics in the Nidahas Trophy final, Karthik was shouldered with the responsibility to lead Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2018. Captaining a high-profile side for the first time in his career, the 32-year-old has done a commendable job thus far. KKR have won 5 out of their 9 matches in this season and are currently placed at No. 3 in the points table, with DK himself playing clutch knocks on several occasions.
In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Karthik opens up about his experience of leading an esteemed IPL franchise and the things he learnt in last one month.
“One learns tactical things, it's about picking up things along the way... I've been learning about the individuals in the KKR squad. What, for example, are they trying and wanting to bring on board?” Karthik said.
When asked to name the cricketers whom he admires the most, DK was in full of praise for quite a few elite players.
“I've admired Anil Kumble for making optimum use of his talent, loved the tenacity of Rahul Dravid, I say wow to the free-flowing style of AB de Villiers, admired Virat Kohli for the phenomenal way he prepares and his unbelievable ability to finish matches... I also enjoy watching Rohit Sharma bat... See, it's not about one individual,” Karthik asserted.
He is also a big fan of the legendary West Indian batsman – Sir Vivian Richards and wished to see him play Twenty20 cricket.
“I'd love to watch Sir Vivian Richards play this format [T20] and to see what innovations he could come up with... Pity he retired in 1991. Richards had an excellent strike rate of over 90 when the 60 and 50-over game was still growing. Back then, 200 in a 50-over face-off would be seen as a winning score. Now, 200 in T20s isn't safe. Cricket has changed so much... The way I am, I don't just look at, say, the shots being played but I observe the cricketers. I try and pick up little things from different individuals,” Dinesh remarked.
On being asked if the match-defining 8-ball 29* against Bangladesh in the Twenty20 tri-series final will remain a key moment in his career, Karthik said: “For me, that final against Bangladesh was just another match and I was lucky to do well (29 not out off eight balls)... A lot of good things got written after that and, if the perception of people about me has changed, I'm happy.”
“At that stage of the final, mine was a good innings... Internationally, it was the season-ending match for us and, had we lost, it would have been unfair on those who'd worked so hard right through 2017-2018. India had a terrific season, if I may add,” he concluded.