Last year’s World Cup semifinal between India and New Zealand was presented a scenario Dinesh Karthik would have played over numerous times over in his head. As India were dealt three early blows in their chased of 241, leaving them reeling at 5/3. Also Read - Ben Stokes Questions India's Intent During World Cup 2019 Game vs England at Edgbaston, Says There Was No Intent From MS Dhoni And Kedar Jadhav
Instead of India’s most experienced cricketer MS Dhoni, Karthik, their perennial makeshift man was sent to try and do a job he’s not equipped to. Karthik, with full regard to his skill and flexibility, had not prepared for the crunch game and was dismissed cheaply. Also Read - 'You Need Experience For Big Tournaments' - Yuvraj Singh Defends Rishabh Pant's World Cup Performance
Nine months later, recalling the game, Karthik revealed the batting promotion left him surprised, and in a manner that the wicketkeeper batsman hardly had the time to react. Also Read - New Zealand Should Have Been Joint World Cup Winners: Gautam Gambhir
“It came as a bit of a surprise because they had made it very clear that I would be batting at number seven,” Karthik told Cricbuzz. “We had to send a rear-guard action just to stem the flow of wickets. I was told to pad up and it all happened in a daze, in a hurry.”
“I was just sitting in my shorts and I had to go up, get ready. Literally, I was late to get in, I wasn’t expecting a wicket to fall. KL Rahul got out and I had to put on my pads. I went in in the third over and I don’t know when I got out, and it doesn’t matter, but I just stopped the wickets falling till Boult’s spell was over. He was the main wrecker-in-chief and unluckily when it was time for me to move on, I got out to a brilliant catch by James Neesham.”
India, the top team following at the end of the group stage, headed into the semifinal favourites against New Zealand, but a rare top-order failure knocked them out two steps away from a World Cup win. India have struggled to win an ICC title since the 2013 Champions Trophy with five straight knockout eliminations since, but Karthik is confident that a World Cup title win is around the corner.
“We’ve always been good at playing big tournaments because I think in the last few years if reaching the semifinals was the yardstick, we’ve hit it every time,” Karthik said. “It’s just that we’ve not gone on to go to the final or win the World Cup, but I’m sure it’s around the corner given the kind of skill that we have.”