‘Dhoni mania was so big that you had to pick him…He replaced me in all formats’, Dinesh Karthik recalls

India wicketkeeper batter Dinesh Karthik has opened up on his competition with former India captain MS Dhoni for a place in the Indian lineup. The duo made their debuts for the national team back in 2004 but while Dhoni went on to captain the side over a decade and feature for India in 538 games across formats, Karthik remained in and out of the Indian team owing to the former establishing his place in the XI.

“I made my debut before him. We went together on an India A tour and from there I got picked to the Indian team,” Karthik shared on the RCB podcast. “That was the first time I played a 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 there with boundaries and sixes. The world was still getting used to something like that, it was that sort of thing.”

He further added, “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.”

“I was chasing excellence. I was constantly on the path of becoming the best batter 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. And he made no mistake. 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 huge right from the outset. I remained the under study but I was always on the lookout for opportunities,” he said.

Karthik has donned the Indian colors for 180 matches across formats and marked his comeback for the national side in the shortest format last year, owing to his form with the bat for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022, in which he scored 330 runs at a strike rate of 183. This, while earning a reputation as a finisher, a role that was glorified by Dhoni over the years in IPL as well as Indian colors.

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