• Sunday, June 23, 2024

CRICKET

Dinesh Karthik retires from IPL and international cricket

The Eliminator between Bengaluru and Rajasthan was Dinesh Karthik’s final match, concluding a 20-year career filled with multiple comebacks across formats. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Dinesh Karthik’s international career was shaped by the emergence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but on Wednesday, he announced his retirement at the end of his team’s IPL campaign, leaving a lasting mark over the past 17 years.

The Eliminator between his Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Rajasthan Royals was Karthik’s final match, concluding a 20-year career filled with multiple comebacks across formats.

Karthik played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs, and 60 T20s over two decades. Despite spending more time in the commentary box than on the field in recent years, he remained relevant until the end. His performances for RCB ahead of the T20 World Cup squad announcement brought him back into the selection debate, but the selectors opted for younger talent.

While commentating on the India-England Test series in February-March, Karthik decided to retire, which was revealed publicly by Michael Atherton in a podcast. Karthik, who played for six teams in the IPL since its inception in 2008, finished with nearly 5000 runs, 145 catches, and 37 stumpings. His role as a finisher for RCB over the past three seasons was particularly notable.

In a format dominated by power-hitters, Karthik used his experience, game awareness, and touch to find the boundaries. His 330 runs at a strike rate of 183 in 2022 earned him a recall to the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, marking his last appearance in national colors. Despite a higher strike rate this season, he knew his comeback story with Indian cricket had ended.

Karthik made his India debut in an ODI against England at Lord’s in September 2004, impressing with a spectacular stumping of Michael Vaughan. He made his Test debut against Australia three months later, but his international career struggled due to middling performances and Dhoni’s rise. During the 2007 tour of England, Karthik opened the batting, contributing significantly to India’s rare Test series win away from home.

Between 2010 and 2017, Karthik was a key player in the IPL but saw his national team opportunities diminish. He returned to the national scene after India’s loss to Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and played regularly in white-ball formats until 2019. His memorable moments included a last-ball six to win the 2018 Nidahas T20 Trophy in Colombo.

Karthik made a brief Test comeback in 2018 but was left out of the 2019 ODI World Cup home series against Australia, only to be surprisingly recalled for the World Cup, where he played three games, including the semifinal against New Zealand. His final international comeback came after a stellar IPL in 2022, but he managed only 14 runs in three innings at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Karthik acknowledged that his India career could have been more, but there was no shame in being overshadowed by Dhoni. His consistency in the IPL was recognised by his RCB teammates, including Virat Kohli. Karthik will soon return to the commentary box and may play in T20 leagues outside the IPL.

(PTI)

Related Stories