Former Indian cricketer-turned-cricket analyst Wasim Jaffer has lavished rich praises on his former teammate Dinesh Karthik. While Jaffer has been out of cricket for some time, Karthik is still playing at the highest level for India.
The 37-year-old earned his place in the Indian T20I side for the ongoing five-match series against South Africa after his heroics for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the recently-concluded season of IPL 2022.
In the 4th match of the series in Rajkot on Friday, he hit his first T20I fifty in a must-win game, helping the Indian team emerge victorious by 82 runs and level with the Temba Bavuma-led side. The series is currently tied at 2-2, with the decider set to take place on Sunday in Bengaluru (June 19).
Jaffer, who played Test cricket with Dinesh Karthik at the top of the order in 2006-07, praised the Tamil Nadu batter's fitness and praised his budding broadcasting career, stating 'this pundit can bat' and 'walk the talk.'
Both Karthik and Jaffer were members of the Indian team that played the Proteas in the team's first-ever T20I match in 2006. In that game, too, the 37-year-old batted brilliantly, scoring an unbeaten 31 runs off 28 balls (3 fours and 1 six) to help India to a six-wicket victory.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, the 44-year-old pondered on Karthik's valiant voyage against all odds in that game, which was played in Johannesburg.
"I remember that 2006 T20 because I was part of [the squad]. India won that T20. I think it was a one-off game. Scoring your first T20I half-century like this after all these years and scoring it in this fashion indicates that he maintained his fitness and form, brought it to the IPL, and, most importantly, didn't give up. He knew he is in an age bracket where he wouldn't get a second chance but still didn't give up. I really feel happy that he showed a never-say-die attitude," said Jaffer.
Karthik came in as a number six batter in Rajkot with India suffering at 81-4 in 12.5 overs and scored 65 runs for the fifth wicket along with Hardik Pandya to help India get going and help them put up a fighting total that proved too much for the visitors.
"He has been in and out of the team and made innumerable comebacks, but the way he batted today (Friday) showed the 360-degree game with sweeps and reverse sweeps. India was behind in the game at the 10th over mark and could make 170 only because of Dinesh Karthik's batting.
"He showed that this commentator can bat. He commentates when he isn't batting, but he can also walk the talk. It's a very good thing, and I am very happy for him".