India’s unlikely hero in the final of the recently-concluded Nidahas Trophy, Dinesh Karthik, has said he was shocked to be sent at No 7 in the all-important match, a position below his state-mate Vijay Shankar.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Karthik said he expected skipper Rohit Sharma to send him at No 6, and the demotion left him “disappointed”.
“I was a little shocked. Angry is a bit strong word, I feel. The whole tournament I had batted at No 6 and then to see Shankar go up, I was a little bit shocked,” Karthik said.
“I have a good rapport with Rohit – under his captaincy I have won the IPL. I obviously trust him a lot. I know he respects me as a cricketer. I was more shocked than angry – bit disappointed, yes. It was more like, ‘are you sure about the move as Vijay hasn’t batted the whole tournament?’ I knew there must be a reason behind it.”
Shankar walked in at the fall of Rohit in the 14th over, and had a tough time to get going. He played four consecutive dot balls in the 18th over of India’s chase, failing to put bat to ball and putting his partner Manish Pandey, and himself, under immense pressure.
On the penultimate ball of that over – bowled by Mustafizur Rahman – he managed a leg bye. Pandey holed out to long-on on the next ball, leaving India to get 34 runs in two overs.
Karthik, an experienced campaigner in the Twenty20 (T20) format, was sympathetic towards Shankar, whose maiden batting innings for India turned out to be horror effort that almost cost India the series.
“He (Shankar) was trying to connect with the ball but his timing was not coming through. Every batsman who has played this sport has gone through that. It takes a lot of nerve; it was unlucky for him as this was the first time he had batted for Team India,” the 32-year-old said.
Karthik went on to cream 22 runs from the 19th over, bowled by Rubel Hossain. Shankar squeezed a vital boundary in the final over before being dismissed, leaving Karthik to get five runs off the last ball. The Tamil Nadu bastman duly dispatched Soumya Sarkar over extra cover for a flat six to seal a memorable win for India.