Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - 'I don't practice too much, I keep it as specific as possible'. Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma got the job done for India.
Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma got the job done for India.
Needing 10 runs off the last over, Dinesh Karthik (who hadn't faced a ball till then) ended India's run-chase in the rain-shortened second T20I in only two balls – a six and a four. As simple as that. 18 years into his international career, Karthik has been pigeonholed as India's finisher in the shortest format.
For as valuable as the nature of the role is, it's as risky and few have managed to pull it off with the effectiveness and consistency of Karthik. Explaining his routine, Karthik said, “I have been practising over a period of time for this, and I have been doing it for RCB and I am happy doing it here. It is a consistent routine over a period of time.
“When I get off time, I get a lot of scenario practice. Vikram Rathour and Rahul Dravid have also been accommodating of how I want to practice, and what shots I want to practice. I have been very specific about it, I don't practice too much, I just keep it as specific as possible.”
Karthik managed to take the sheen away in the end, it was Rohit Sharma's unbeaten 20-ball 46 which helped India chase down the 91-run target in the 8-over-a-side contest against Australia in Nagpur, on Friday.
Karthik heaped praise on his captain's innings, and added, “Rohit Sharma played brilliantly. I got two balls, so I just tried my best there. To play such shots against the new ball, against top-class new ball bowlers, is not easy. It shows why Rohit is such a big player in world cricket, not only Indian cricket. His ability to play against fast-bowling is second to none and that is what makes him truly special.”
While Karthik's successful run as a finisher has helped India sort out one of the key issues of their batting, it has left Rishabh Pant's position in the team under pressure. The hard-hitting Pant might possess a natural advantage being a left-hander in a team where none of the other six batters are, his inconsistent form in the shortest format has left his place in concern. With India playing an 8-over contest, the team played both Pant and Karthik in the XI, even though the former didn't get an opportunity to bat.
Explaining the rationale of playing only four frontline bowlers in the contest, Karthik lauded the team management's decision to give Pant another opportunity. . “Everyone knows about Rishabh Pant's quality, yes he could not bat but we all know what quality he brings to the table. We just needed four bowlers today, playing five bowlers in this game was a luxury. I think the Indian team made the right choice of playing Rishabh.”
Given the current form and combination India is shaping up with, when fully fit, Axar Patel could be the only left-hander in the best XI. As a result, there would be possibilities that the southpaw could bat higher up in the order to counter the matchups, much like it happened in the opening game of the ongoing series.
“It is something we are trying,” Karthik explained. “There are times they (management) feel that there could be a couple of overs where Axar Patel could target the spinner and take them on. That was the kind of logic at that stage and having a left-hander when a leg-spinner is bowling, it is a good match-up. We try and use that option sometimes, depending on how the game is unraveling at that point in time.”