Experiment with various players and at various positions and roles has defined India’s T20I journey in the last 10 months. Since their forgettable 2021 T20 World Cup ouster last October in the UAE, India have played auditioned umpteen players – recalled a few and brought in couple of fresh faces – in a bid to find their perfect combination for the T20 World Cup later this year. But not many imagined Dinesh Karthik to be among those experiments, not with the bat, but with the ball, a decision that left his teammates amused during the Asia Cup 2022 tie against Afghanistan before Rishabh Pant pulled off an epic remark.
With Afghanistan at 93 for eight heading into the final over of their chase of 213 at the Dubai International Stadium in their Super 4 tie against India, stand-in skipper KL Rahul handed over the last over to Karthik. The veteran cricketer has never bowled in international cricket before nor in Indian Premier League, although he did roll his arms years back in domestic cricket once, having bowled just an over.
India had nothing to fear in the final over and hence Karthik was brought into the attack and the off-spinner was smashed for 18 runs by Ibrahim Zadran of Afghanistan which included back-to-back sixes. After the penultimate ball, where Zadran lofted the flighted delivery over extra cover for two runs, Pant poked fun at Karthik, which was caught on stump mic, saying, “DK bhai, sab control mein hai”.
India eventually won by 101 runs as they ended their rather forgettable campaign with a much-needed victory.
The Men in Blue, under Rohit Sharma, were the overwhelming favourites having won back-to-back titles without a single defeat. With wins against Pakistan and Hong Kong, India progressed comfortably into the Super 4 stage, but were stunned by a Babar Azam’s men and a rejuvenated Sri Lanka side, which led to their ouster in Asia Cup.
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