During the English summer last year, Dinesh Karthik won praise for his stint as a broadcaster. The senior India cricketer even interviewed then India captain Virat Kohli for a special feature. Cut to April 2022, it was Kohli’s turn to be behind the microphone and interview Karthik who has been setting IPL 2022 on fire with his new ‘finisher’ role for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Karthik, who has found a new lease of life at RCB, has amassed 197 runs in 6 matches at a staggering strike rate of over 200. The India wicketkeeper produced another stunning knock on Saturday at the iconic Wankhede Stadium against Delhi Capitals in a crunch IPL 2022 match. Hitting 5 sizes and as many boundaries, Karthik hit 66 not out in just 34 balls as he helped RCB recover from an early slump and post a match-winning total of 189.
With ‘DK, DK’ chants ringing loud at the Wankhede, Karthik played some incredible shots, taking 28 runs off Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman’s over to swing the momentum in favour of RCB, proving yet again that he is currently the best finisher in the IPL.
Stressing that it was a special night and it called for a special interview, Virat Kohli told the IPL website: “I haven’t done this a lot. But here I am, today is a special night to do it. I am here with the man of the moment, ‘Man of the IPL’ for me so far.
“It’s been wonderful. I won’t even say ‘long may it continue’ because it will and you’re in that of space and I can see that. It was an honour to watch you bat again. Thanks for getting us across the line.
“This is the best I have seen you bat since IPL 2013,” Kohli added.
Kohli went on to ask Karthik about his preparation for IPL 2022. The former KKR captain was not in the best of forms in IPL 2021, managing just 223 runs in 17 matches. However, RCB showed faith in the Tamil Nadu batter and bought him for Rs 5.5 crore.
CALL FROM BANGAR
Responding to Kohli’s question, Karthik, who last played for India at the 2019 World Cup, said he had set a long term and a short term goal, with the former being an India comeback in the lead up to this year’s T20 World Cup. Karthik also said he had gotten a call from RCB head coach Sanjay Bangar after the IPL 2022 mega auction during which the former India all-rounder had spoken about the need to do the finisher’s job in the absence of AB de Villiers.
“There is a small term goal and there’s a bigger vision as well. The small-term goal is to obviously do very well for RCB. I think credit to the RCB backroom staff. The day I got picked Sanjay bhai (Bangar) called me and said ‘DK you’ll be playing the finisher’s role’. We have lost out on AB, we can’t replace him with anybody half as good. We need 2-3 players to do that role’. He is that good.
“Then I took it upon myself to figure out that ‘okay, this is what I want to do’,” Karthik said.
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WORLD CUP VISION
“The bigger vision is that I want to play for the country. I know there is a World Cup around the corner. I want to be part of that World Cup desperately and help India cross that line. It’s been a long time since India won a multi-nation tournament. I want to be that person who is helping India do that. For that, you need to be aware of so many things, try and be that player who people think ‘hey this guy is doing something special.
“Every day I practice with that intent in my mind. Credit to my coach who has put me through so many drills to make sure I get the best out of myself.
“As you grow older, it’s important to stay fit. I have tried my best to do it.
“I am so happy contributing to RCB. This is my 2nd time with RCB and I wanted to do something special. For a start, it feels privileged that you’re asking me these questions,” he added.
ABD WILL BE PROUD
Kohli lauded Karthik’s clarity of vision and said that people would have started taking notice of the RCB star’s contribution with the bat.
“I am very happy that DK is so clear with his goals. I can surely tell you that you have presented a very strong case, moving forward, playing T20 cricket not just for RCB but I am sure a lot of people are taking notice at the highest level as well.
“You mentioned AB and I think AB will be very proud watching from Pretoria, sitting at home and watching you finish games for us and take the team across the line,” Kohli added.
Karthik has been in stunning form for RCB, having already executed the finisher’s role to perfection on a couple of occasions. Despite heavy competition for a spot in the Indian T20 team, as Kohli mentioned, Karthik is certainly knocking on the doors of the selectors.