Don't slam Dinesh Karthik, praise him for his confidence

The long-drawn tour of Australia and New Zealand may have had a lot of positives for India, but the trip ended with a T20I series loss amidst a controversy over Dinesh Karthik’s enigmatic refusal to take a single in the last over.

Two days since the series ended, the media is still discussing whether Dinesh Karthik was right in not going for the single. Most opinions are not charitable to Karthik, especially since his partner Krunal Pandya was capable of hitting the big shots and he had shown his capability in the very same innings.

For those who have tuned in late, chasing New Zealand’s score of 214 at Hamilton last Sunday, India went into the final over needing 16 for victory with Karthik and Krunal at the crease- the two had batted adroitly from a position of little hope to one where India could think of pulling an improbable victory off.

The final over, however, unravelled badly for India, as Tim Southee used all his experience and technical nous to deny the Indian batsmen any width or depth to go for lofted shots. The first three balls yielded only two runs, effectively killing the match as a contest.

The third ball, which Karthik hit it to long on, but refused to take the single despite Pandya running almost to his end, is now the talking point. With Karthik unable to smash the fourth ball for a six, the match ended tamely, even though the final delivery was clobbered for an anti-climactic ‘maximum’.

Karthik has been criticised by former cricketers, and the general public has mercilessly trolled him on social media platforms. The popular refrain is that Karthik is no MS Dhoni, who is a kind of legend for finishing off matches in the last over. Of course, Dhoni has fluffed his lines, in a manner of speaking, in final overs more than a couple of times, but nobody remembers that.

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