In his comeback T20I series against South Africa, veteran campaigner Dinesh Karthik proved his mettle with the bat.
Batting in the lower order, the 37-year-old played a couple of dazzling cameos out of the four innings. While the right-hander scored 30* off 21 balls in the second T20I at Cuttack, he smashed 55 off 27 balls in the penultimate game at Rajkot.
Reflecting on Karthik’s performance, India head coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday (June 19) said the former was picked for a very 'specific skill' and fortunately it was carried out during the fourth T20I.
Dravid's statement came after the fifth and final T20I between India and South Africa in Bangalore was abandoned due to rain.
"He was picked for a very specific skill. And it's nice when that's kind of indicated in a sense that it came together brilliantly for us in the Rajkot game, where we needed that big performance in the last five overs to be able to make a par score. He and Hardik [Pandya] batted beautifully for us; both of them are our enforcers at the end, guys who can capitalise on those last five-six overs," Dravid said in the post-match press conference.
"They are probably two of the best in the world in those last five-six overs. So, yeah, it was really nice to see Karthik come off and do what he has been picked to do. It certainly opens up a lot more options for us going forward. Innings like that certainly make you start. Like I was telling the guys it's not about knocking the door - you have to start banging the door down, and an innings like that certainly means he is knocking very hard," he added.
The series was brilliantly poised at 2-2 but only 21 balls were bowled in the decider at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Asked to bat first, the hosts reached 28/2 in 3.3 overs before the rain arrived and the game eventually had to be abandoned.
Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant were there in the middle after India lost both their openers Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad for 15 and 10 respectively. Lungi Ngidi claimed the two wickets for South Africa.
Following the disappointing result, the five-match series was shared. While the Proteas had won the first two T20Is in Delhi and Cuttack, the home team had bounced back to register victories in Visakhapatnam and Rajkot.
(With ANI inputs)