Dinesh Karthik turns 33 on Friday. The wicketkeeper-batsman made his debut for the Indian team in November 2004 in an ODI against England at Lord’s. He got his first Test cap just a month later. This makes him the only member in the current Indian setup to have made his international debut before MS Dhoni. But unlike Dhoni, Karthik has had a rather stop-start international career. But he has had a rather extraordinary year in 2018. He smashed a sensational 8-ball 29, including a six off the last ball, to ensure that India beat Bangladesh in the final of the Nidahas Trophy in March. He followed that up by leading Kolkata Knight Riders to a third-place finish in IPL 2018.
Karthik’s innings against Bangladesh in Colombo led to several fans and commentators calling on him to replace MS Dhoni, who was enduring a lean patch with the bat, as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in limited overs cricket. He came in to bat when India were 34 runs short of the target of 167 with just 12 balls remaining. He made his intentions clear from the onset, smashing a six off the very first ball he faced. The next one was a four and the one after that went for six again. In fact, off the eight balls he faced in that innings, five were sent to the boundary.
— Mani Tendo (@mani_tendo) June 1, 2018
But his partner Vijay Shankar struggled to score and ended up being dismissed off the penultimate ball of the match. Karthik had crossed over and was on strike facing the last ball with India needing five runs to win. But that was no problem at all for Karthik. He simply brought his front foot forward and smoked Soumya Sarkar over covers to send the Indian fans in the stadium and those sitting in front of televisions, cell phones and laptops back home and across the world into a tizzy.
He then replaced Gautam Gambhir as captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2018 and led them to a third-place finish. He will now travel with the Indian team on their tour of England.