Opportunity for Dinesh Karthik to cement his place in the Indian Test squad
The countdown for the most awaited Test series between India and England has begun. Both teams will be looking forward to bring out their best game in the series and mark their name on the coveted Pataudi Trophy. Indian Fans would expect their team to play tough and competitive cricket this time, unlike the previous tours in 2014 and 2011.
Indian Team's performance in the previous two tours was below par when they faced shocking defeats after surrendering in tough situations.This series is also touted by many cricket experts as an opportunity for the young Indian side to challenge England in their own backyard.
One man who has a golden opportunity to make this series his own is Dinesh Karthik. He traveled to England with the Indian Team back in 2007 as an opener and was successful in providing good opening stands to the team along with Wasim Jaffer.
A lot of water has flowed since then, and now we have Dinesh Karthik again in the team looking to replace Saha as a wicket-keeper Batsman. Karthik made his debut way back in 2004 but has not been a regular part of the team.
He has himself to blame for his exclusion from the side as he did not give the performances which was expected from him by the Team management. Karthik was also a part of the generation which had seen the great MS Dhoni flourish, who went on to become India's most successful wicket-keeper batsman and captain in all formats of the game.
Due to Dhoni's top performance and elevation to the zenith in Indian team, Karthik found it even more onerous to make a name of his own. But now,Since MS Dhoni has retired from Test cricket and Wriddhiman Saha being injured, it is an opportunity for him to play fearless cricket and cement his position in the team for at least the next 2-3 years.
After what we witnessed in the Nidahas Trophy Final and also in the IPL earlier this year, indicates that Karthik has been in the best batting form of his career. But, now he has to replicate the same performances in Test cricket too, and he can do that by giving himself some time in the middle and by getting used to the conditions which he is familiar with. His performance in the 2007 tour was also one of the reasons for India's first Test series victory in England since 1986.
He had couple of 50 plus scores when he last toured to England, where he scored a 60 in the first Test at Lords when India had to chase 380 before rains cut the match short and it ended in a draw. He also had a 77 and 91 against his name in the 2nd and 3rd Test played at Trent Bridge and Oval respectively. He will definitely look to take positives from those performances and would like to make useful contributions this time.
Over the years, he has matured into a thinking cricketer as was evident in the IPL. Besides good wicket-keeping and batting, his inputs to Virat Kohli will play an important role in the series. Befor referring an onfield decision to the third umpire, the captain trusts his wicket-keeper the most in case of LBW or an edge related issue. Dinesh Karthik will need to be accurate in his judgements in such situations.
This could also be the last chance for him to make his mark in this Indian Test side, with youngsters like Rishabh Pant, who had a good warm up game against Essex, constantly knocking the doors for selection and waiting for their turn to make a name for themselves.