BCCI’s selection panel on Sunday (May 22) announced Team India’s 18-member squad for the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa.
KL Rahul will lead the team in the absence of Rohit Sharma, who has been rested along with senior members, including Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami.
One notable inclusion in the team was of veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik, who has impressed one and all with his exploits in the ongoing IPL.
Karthik’s last appearance for Team India was in the 2019 ODI World Cup in England. Since then, he has failed to make the cut into the national side.
However, the right-hander has been a revelation in the IPL 2022 season. While playing for the Royals Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Karthik has so far scored 287 runs in 14 innings at an incredible strike rate of 191.33. In particular, his brutal hitting in the death overs has left the cricket fraternity in awe.
Delighted by his selection, Karthik on Monday (May 23) said this is his ‘most special comeback’.
“Very happy, very, very satisfying… must say that this has been probably my most special comeback, because a lot of people had given up on me,” Karthik said in a video posted by RCB on their Twitter handle.
“For me to come back and do what I did, practise the way I did with my coach (Abhishek) Nayar, things that have happened in the lead-up to the auction, and how I practised post that… a lot of credit also to (RCB head coach) Sanjay Bangar and (RCB director of cricket operations) Mike Hesson, I think the clarity that they gave me to execute the role that I wanted to do, in many ways (I’m) indebted to RCB for picking me and giving me that role, believing in me and then me coming out here and trying to do my best for this team RCB. All in all, a very happy feeling… I am very excited overall,” he further added.
Karthik, 36, also thanked the selectors for picking him at a time when many youngsters are knocking on the doors. He also expressed his desire to play in this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
“A lot of credit must go to the selectors, Rohit (Sharma) and (Rahul) Dravid, because these days you have so many young boys putting up their hands for selection… to see the skillset that is there and to believe that this is the guy we need for the (T20) World Cup, it is a very, very humbling feeling,” Karthik said.
“I know the journey is still there to the World Cup but being a part of the scheme of things and giving an opportunity for me to showcase my skills, I am very proud of it.”
Last year, Dinesh Karthik performed the role of a commentator in UK but his main focus was to make a comeback in the Indian team.
“I took up the role of a commentator for a bit and obviously that made it look like I was no more interested in trying to come back to the Indian team but I have always said that for me, playing in the Indian team is the priority. Because I had time, I did it (commentary),” he said.