Comeback man Dinesh Karthik stole the show in Rajkot during the fourth T20I against South Africa on Friday night. Batting at no. 6, the veteran wicketkeeper-batter smashed a 27-ball 55, including 9 boundaries and 2 maximums, notching his maiden T20I fifty. He stitched a crucial 65-run stand with vice-captain Hardik Pandya, helping the hosts set a 170-run target for the Proteas to chase.
In reply, the visitors succumbed to an 82-run loss and were bundled out for their lowest total in the shortest format of the game – 87/9. While India levelled the series 2-2, Karthik bagged the Man of the Match award for his remarkable innings.
After the clinical victory, the 37-year-old had a candid conversation with Pandya at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. When asked about the mindset with which he tackled the South African bowlers, Karthik gave a heart-touching reply. The veteran cricket said he knows the value of the chance of representing the team at the international level. Hence, he made the most of it.
“I was very bull-headed, that I want to play this world cup. It’s very important for me because I’ve been around for so long and I know what it feels to be dropped. I also know how valuable it is to play for Team India.
“So, I wanted to do something special. And luckily, RCB gave me the platform, the role I really enjoyed doing. I practiced for it, I worked for it and to see it come through. And then, obviously, the love and affection from everybody who watched me all the way – from the captain to the coach, the selectors, going ahead and giving me this opportunity,” Karthik told Pandya during a conversation on BCCI.tv.
“Now that I’m here, I want to be that guy who can help Team India win those tough games. I want to be in that situation, try and do something special whenever I go in because I’ve seen the team from outside. I know how tough it’s to be part of it. The kind of competition there is, the kind of talent in the dressing room is phenomenal,” he added.
Karthik further lauded the environment in the Indian dressing room which is full of ‘youthful energy’. He said he is enjoying it a lot and at the same time, showing his capabilities whenever given a chance.
“The vibe is very different. I seem to enjoy it a lot. There’s quite a lot of youthful energy that goes around which genuinely I’m enjoying. At the same time, when given an opportunity, I want to show what I’m good at,” Karthik said further.