Dinesh Karthik is an Indian wicketkeeper-batsman who came through the ranks of the Indian U-19 cricket team to make his international debut at a young age. Though he has been a frequent member of the Indian team for differing periods of time over the last decade, his position in the team has been precarious due to poor domestic and international results. Originally a batsman, he was able to extend his prospects by honing his wicket-keeping abilities, but after the emergence of M.S. Dhoni, he was limited to a reserve choice.He had a better T20 career, being bought for Rs.12.5 crore by Delhi Daredevils in the seventh season of the IPL. Though he struggled to justify his high price tag that season, he has played for teams such as Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Gujarat Lions in T20 over the years. He has been appointed the captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad for the upcoming edition of the IPL.
Childhood and Puberty
Dinesh Karthik was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on June 1, 1985, to Krishna Kumar, a Chennai-based first-class cricketer, and his wife Padma. Vinesh, his younger brother, is his only sibling.
He spent a few years of his childhood in Kuwait, where his father worked, and went to Fahaheel Al-Watanieh Indian Private School, which is part of the Delhi Public School system. His father, who had to quit cricket for a steady job and did not want his son to suffer the same fate, offered him his first cricket lessons when he was ten years old.
Career In Domestic
Dinesh Karthik has been practising with his father since he was a boy. He progressed rapidly through the Tamil Nadu youth ranks, making his debut for the Under-14s in early 1999 and being promoted to the Under-16 side in November of that year.
At the age of 15 years and 3 months, he was picked for the Under-19 side, but he was later demoted due to poor results. He was elevated to the Under-22 squad after regaining his spot in the U-19 team the next season, making a good case for his promotion to the senior team in the 2002–03 season.
He made his first-class debut as a wicket-keeper batsman for Tamil Nadu against Baroda in late 2002, accumulating 179 runs in five matches, including an unbeaten 88 to save the team from inevitable loss. Though he was passed over for the Duleep Trophy due to a downturn in form, he won a spot in the national Under-19 team in his second zonal season with three fifties.
Kiran More, a former national wicket-keeper batsman and chairman of the selection committee, helped him develop his wicket-keeping skills. He scored 438 runs with two centuries and 20 catches in the Ranji season of 2003–04.
He was picked for the Indian squad for the U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2004. The Indian U-19 team qualified to the tournament semifinals.
Career In International
Dinesh Karthik made his ODI debut against England in the NatWest series on September 5, 2004, and went on to appear in one match in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy against Kenya. On November 3, 2004, he made his Test debut in the 4th Test against Australia, replacing the out-of-form Parthiv Patel.
In November 2004, he played in a two-match home series against South Africa, but only had one respectable 46-run innings in the second Test. The next month, he travelled to Bangladesh with the Test team for a two-match series, but he was unable to contribute to India’s huge 500-plus totals in both matches.
Karthik’s chances were limited until April 2006 due to the selection of M.S. Dhoni as a wicket-keeper batsman in the ODI side, but he was retained for the home Test series against Pakistan in March 2005. Except for 93 runs in the second innings of the second Test, when he put up a 166-run partnership with Rahul Dravid, he struggled to score with the bat in high-scoring matches.
He was replaced by Dhoni, who had a prolific career at the time, after scoring only one run in each match against Zimbabwe in September 2005. After a finger injury, Dhoni was called back for the Third Test against South Africa in January 2007, where he contributed 63 runs to a century-run opening partnership with Wasim Jaffer.
Prior to the Test series, he struggled in the ODIs, but he scored an unbeaten 31 in the T20 to help India beat South Africa.
With his 63 runs on a slow wicket in the match at Cuttack, he led a struggling Indian team to a respectable score in the subsequent four-match ODI series against the West Indies, and was instrumental in India’s victory in that match.
He was chosen for the series against Sri Lanka as well as the 2007 Cricket World Cup, but he did not perform well with the bat. He was retained for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, but was later dropped due to poor performance.
After a number of batsmen were dropped following India’s flop at the World Cup in 2007, he toured Bangladesh as a specialist opening batsman and scored his maiden century in the second Test in Dhaka. During India’s mid-2007 tour of England, he became the top scorer in Tests with regular 50-plus scores, but he failed to capitalise on his opportunity in ODIs.
Despite a lacklustre performance against Pakistan in late 2007, he was retained as the opener for the Australia series, though he only appeared in one practise match and a T20. He was dropped from the team after showing poor form against Sri Lanka in July 2008, replacing Dhoni, who had taken a break.
He played as a replacement for Dhoni against teams like New Zealand and Bangladesh in the following years, but was eventually replaced by Wriddhiman Saha during the South Africa series in 2010. He returned to the ODI team during the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, riding high on his success in domestic cricket and the IPL.
Career In IPL
Dinesh Karthik was bought by Kings XI Punjab in 2011 after playing for Delhi Daredevils for the first three seasons of the Indian Premier League. In the following season, he joined the Mumbai Indians and scored 510 points in the tournament to help the team win its first ever title in 2013.
He has been named captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders for the 2018 edition of the IPL.