MS Dhoni’s rise started a new chapter in Indian cricket. The youngster from Ranchi, Jharkhand, who rose to become a giant in world cricket is an inspiration to many. A few months before Dhoni’s debut for India in December, 2004, against Bangladesh, another wicketkeeper-batter started his journey for the Men in Blue. His name was Dinesh Karthik. He made his debut in an ODI against England at Lord’s in September, 2004. However, Dhoni’s dominance was such that Karthik soon became an understudy of the former India skipper.
While Dhoni went on to win three ICC title as India captain, Karthik worked hard and is still playing at the top level. He even played the 2022 T20 World Cup for India. Recently, Karthik shared his thoughts on making his debut at a time when Dhoni-mania was just starting.
“I made my debut before him. We went together on an India A tour and from there I got picked for the Indian team, he was still there in India A team,” Karthik said on the RCB podcast.
“That was the first time I played a four-day match together with him. I did so well that they picked me for the Indian team. From there, they went on another trip, there was a ODI tournament where he just blasted it. People stood up and said there is nobody like him. They said he’s a special player. Obviously I came to the Indian team, but by then the Dhoni mania was so big that you had to pick him. He then replaced me in all formats and he did very well. At the end of the day, it is all about taking opportunities. You got to be ready to take opportunities.
“I was chasing excellence. I was constantly on the path of becoming the best cricketer in the world. Dhoni was there, he wasn’t there – that wasn’t my lookout. He was doing very well for himself. I knew that he had settled in all team. He made no mistake at the start. They sent him up an order, he got a hundred in ODI. He then went to Test cricket and scored 85. He kept brilliantly. Most importantly, he became a brand overnight. People were after him. He was hugely popular sportsperson right from the outset. I was always the understudy but I was always on the lookout for opportunities, doing something special.”
Karthik is now gearing up for the Indian Premier League, where he plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Dhoni is also preparing for the IPL for Chennai Super Kings.
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