Sandeep Patil reveals he picked Dinesh Karthik over MS Dhoni for 2004 Champions Trophy

Sandeep Patil reveals he picked Dinesh Karthik over MS Dhoni for 2004 Champions Trophy

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Sandeep Patil has stated that he understood Dinesh Karthik’s potential long back and that’s why also picked him for the 2004 Champions Trophy team despite MS Dhoni’s good performance with the India A team. He has also added that he wants to see MS Dhoni in the 2019 World Cup team.

Karthik made his international debut even before MS Dhoni, but once the latter played that blistering 148-run innings against archrivals Pakistan in Visakhapatnam in only his fifth ODI of his career, he made sure that all the competition was nipped in the bud. He became India’s most-capped wicket-keeper and led India to all global titles that were there to be won. But, Karthik kept on working hard behind the scenes and eventually, got his accolades that he deserved when he helped India win the Nidahas Trophy final almost single-handedly.

While the adulations have hardly been stopped coming, Sandeep Patil has decided to open up on how it all began for the Tamil Nadu star and revealed that, in 2004 when he was touring Zimbabwe with the India A squad, he received a call from the chairman of selectors Syed Kirmani, who asked him to suggest who between Dinesh Karthik or MS Dhoni should be picked as Parthiv Patel's replacement for the Champions Trophy in England.

"I called Dinesh in the hotel room in Harare that evening and told him: 'I got a call (from the selectors), and I've suggested your name. I wished him all the best. After that, I called Dhoni too to my room and explained to him that why did I suggest Karthik's name, and not his. I told him that his turn would come too, and that he will get his chance. I told him that as a coach, it's my duty to tell you that the reason being sending Karthik is that he's scored a hundred, and he was keeping wickets, whereas he hadn't played. Dhoni came into the limelight after Dinesh left, and we went to Kenya, where he blasted everyone," said Patil as quoted by TOI.

"He was a different Karthik back then. It happens to a lot of players, that when they get a call to play for the Indian team, they suddenly feel that they need to play straight. They tend to forget their original style. They think that this is international cricket...they're representing India. Karthik cut down his flair, which was his USP and then he went to personal problems which didn't help.

"The biggest fear for young players is that if I play a shot, I'll get out. That fear wasn't there in Dinesh while playing in the Ranji Trophy and for India A. On that Zimbabwe tour, he hit a brilliant hundred. I'd also watched his 160-odd innings against Mumbai also at the Wankhede Stadium (in 2004). I was really impressed by him. Luckily, Mahi (Dhoni) was also on that Zimbabwe tour."

While Dhoni has gone on to become a colossal figure and an all-time great in the game, his game has dwindled fairly and there have been calls for Karthik to replace the former Indian skipper in ODIs and T20s squads following his exploits against Bangladesh. However, Patil feels that Karthik's maturity is a big positive for Team India but he would still go with Dhoni for the upcoming World Cup.

"Dinesh seems to have settled shown…and he has provided the team management and the selectors a reliable option. The performance in a final will definitely do a lot for Karthik," said Patil.

"That said, I will still go with Dhoni. Unfortunately in the ICC events, 17 or 18 players can't be picked. I want Dhoni to play in 2019 WC, his fitness is fabulous, his exploits have gone down a bit but it happens with every cricketer. The experience he has...he can still deliver under pressure because the pressure during a World Cup is completely different and Dhoni has been."

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