Dinesh Karthik is now being deemed as India’s comeback man. For someone billed as washed, his terrific outings for the country and his IPL franchise of late have shown that he has enough cricket left in him despite being 37 years old.
As he gears up to play the five-match T20Is against the West Indies, there are also plenty of reasons as to why India must consider him to play ODIs. His latest exploit of an unbeaten 41 in 19 deliveries against the Caribbean team in the first T20 is further proof of his batting prowess.
With some of the big names set to be rested for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour, the selectors will look to blood more young talent and give them a chance to prove themselves in the three-match ODI series starting next month.
However, considering a seasoned pro like Karthik isn’t a bad idea to begin with. Here we look at three reasons why he must be on the plane to Harare.
#1 He has made a brilliant comeback in T20Is
His impressive IPL 2022 season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) followed by his valuable knocks suiting up for India soon after showcased his batting prowess. He will not have his sights set on the T20 World Cup to be held Down Under later this year.
However, the veteran Tamil Nadu batter has the temperament to be equally good in the 50-over format. His current ODI numbers might not show much, but Karthik’s caliber and his ability to change gears in ODIs that have become equally fast-paced makes it a good enough reason to play him in the ODIs against Zimbabwe.
#2 He lends more experience to the side and balance
It’s a common sight to see skippers going over to Dinesh Karthik when he’s behind the stumps or on the field for advice. The experience he brings in is instrumental to the relatively young side that’s set to tour Zimbabwe, and his value in the game and in the dressing room is something the team can benefit from.
Plus, his calm approach in high-pressure situations makes him an x-factor and lends balance to the side. He doesn’t need to specifically keep wickets with Sanju Samson or Ishan Kishan doing the job, but his value as a lower-order finisher is something India can use.
#3 India’s approach to World Cup squad selection
While the string of ODIs that India play leading up to the 2023 World Cup in their own backyard is meant as preparation, it also hints at the approach the management will take to decide who will be part of the elite squad that carries the hope of winning a third title next year.
The usual pattern is the right mix of experience and youth, and Dinesh Karthik will add weight to the former. With the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma pretty much picking themselves, Karthik’s ability to play the role of a finisher and shepherd the lower order might give him another chance at the World Cup.
He was part of the 2019 squad for the World Cup and has made sure he’s done enough in the four-year break between the two tournaments to be considered again.