Ajay Jadeja has lauded Dinesh Karthik's longevity, stating he has managed to outlast even MS Dhoni by rediscovering his skills and applying them to the modern game. He went on to raise questions on India's approach of having role-specific players but still appreciated Karthik for his contributions.
Dinesh Karthik has risen like a phoenix in recent times to resurrect his international career from the mouth of death and re-establish himself as a reliable pick for the Men in Blue. The 37-year-old had a brilliant season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League 2022 where the world got to see his new avatar of a finisher. Previously an opener and to-order batsman, Karthik redefined himself with a strike rate of over 180.
His exploits earned him a call back to the Indian dressing room with his T20I appearance in June against South Africa his first national team outing in over three years. The wicket-keeper batsman had made his India debut way back in an ODI against England in 2004, thus making him the most experienced squad member by miles.
"Interesting thing is that he came even before MS Dhoni and hung on for so many years. The most impressive thing about him is his perseverance. Many people leave cricket at this age. But he worked on his game and thought, 'What is it that I can do the best', and decided to play the last four overs," Ajay Jadeja said of Karthik on FanCode as per Hindustan Times.
The veteran showed up in the first T20I against West Indies on Friday when the visitors were struggling at 130/6. An explosive unbeaten knock of 41 in just 19 deliveries took India to a commanding total of 190, enabling them to register a 63-run victory. With the World T20 coming up in less than three months' time, it remains to be seen whether Karthik's abilities as a finisher are enough to afford him a place in the lineup.
“The Indian team has got so much talent for every position. They had players like Suryakumar, Rohit, Virat, Hardik, and Pant, but the selectors kept Karthik for the last four overs. Kudos to Indian cricket for this thinking but I feel you don't assign roles to your players. The game won't be running according to your terms.”
"But I have immense respect for Karthik and his love for the game. At 37, doing commentary is easy for him but he instead chose to follow his passion," Jadeja concluded.