MS Dhoni retired from International cricket in 2020, and the Indian team is yet to find an able replacement finisher for him. But the recent form of the 37-year-old Dinesh Karthik suggests that he might be ready to fill those massive boots. Former Indian coach Ravi Shastri also batted for Karthik to be the finisher for the Indian team heading into the T20 World Cup.
The wicketkeeper batter made his debut for India in 2004 and was the hero of India’s first T20I win in 2006. Karthik’s time was limited with the national side due to the presence of one of the greatest finishers of the game in MS Dhoni. But the veteran batter has come into his own in recent times. His role for RCB in the recently concluded IPL was similar to that of Dhoni’s, as he donned the role of finisher for his side. Karthik has been rewarded a call-up to the national team after scoring 330 runs in 16 matches with an amazing strike rate of 183.33.
Ravi Shastri weighed his opinion on the matter and said that Karthik has to make the opportunity count in the upcoming T20I series against South Africa to remain in contention for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. “This is his opportunity. If and when he gets an opportunity in these games, he has to do it with India colors on. We know he has got the experience, so this becomes extremely vital,” Shastri told Star Sports.
You need a keeper who will perform MS Dhoni’s role, says Ravi Shastri
Although India has already got a mercurial wicketkeeper batter in Rishabh Pant, Shastri believes that the southpaw is more suited to batting up the order. He picked Karthik to do the job as a finisher, something Dhoni did for a long time.
“You have to see from the team’s point of view, what are they looking for? Do they want a keeper who will bat at the top of the order or do they want a keeper who will be the finisher? I will go for the latter. You need a keeper who will do MS Dhoni’s role, let’s put it that way. There is already Rishabh Pant who can bat in the top four or five in T20 cricket, but you want someone who can keep and finish a game because there aren’t too many finishers now with MS (Dhoni) having quit. So, I think that’s where his chances are very very good,” he added.