Can Dinesh Karthik Take KKR Forward?

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Kolkata Knight Riders have found their leader for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. The eastern giants handed the reins of the captaincy to senior player Dinesh Karthik, who they bought in the Bengaluru auction earlier this year for a whopping Rs 7.4 crore.
After the exit of two-time IPL title winning skipper Gautam Gambhir, KKR went for experience in the form of Indian T20I player Karthik, who has been on top form in the last 2-3 years. KKR’s long serving Robin Uthappa has been chosen as his deputy. Karthik comes into a side that achieved a lot of consistency in the past few years under Gambhir. Therefore it will be a big challenge for KKR’s new skipper to get the team firing from all cylinders.
Kolkata CEO Venky Mysore handed the captaincy role to Karthik citing that the experience he bodes will come handy. Assistant coach Simon Katich too is optimistic and feels the decision to appoint him is a well thought one.”I think the thing that stood out is that Karthik is at the age now in his career where he’s got the best years of his career in front of him,” assistant coach Simon Katich noted.


DK will finally get the stability
In the IPL, Karthik has played in all the seasons and has represented a host of franchises. A stability that was needed, Karthik did not quite manage that with all the changes of the set-up he found himself in. But now after being handed the responsibility of a very big franchise in KKR, the player will hope to get the desired stability and bring his experience into play.
KKR will be needing their new skipper to lead from the front and take the onus of the batting department. Given the squad and his vast knowledge and skills, he is the best choice for KKR.
Karthik making the best of his form
The player has been in the best touch with the bat in his long career in the last 2-3 years. That in turn saw him making an entry to back to the Indian set-up in limited overs cricket. The upcoming Nidahas Trophy 2018 will give him a chance to stake his authority in the absence of MS Dhoni. His form for India in the limited opportunities he has got recently has been on the positive side.
In the 2016-17 Vijay Hazare Trophy, Karthik finished as the highest run scorer with 607 runs in nine games. In the Ranji Trophy too he finished with 704 runs at an average of 54.10 and the rich form helped him get a call back to the Indian side.
Karthik as captain

Karthik has previous experience of captaining Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket. He led Tamil Nadu to a title triumph in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2009-10. His big achievement that helped him come to the fore was leading India Red side that won the Duleep Trophy last year. In the T20 format too he has found success, as he led TUTI Patriots to the Tamil Nadu Premier League title in the 2016 edition. His winning rate as T20 skipper is an impressive 72.20%.

Karthik in IPL
The player has played in the cash-rich T20 league since a decade now. On his way to becoming KKR’s skipper, Karthik has represented Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions over the years. Last season for Gujarat Lions he compiled 361 runs at an impressive average of 36.10.
In the sixth edition of IPL in 2013, the wicket-keeping batsman played a key role in helping Mumbai clinch the coveted trophy by scoring 510 runs and effecting 14 dismissals. A veteran of the game, Karthik has composed 2903 runs at a strike rate of 125.94 and effected 114 dismissals in his IPL career spanning 152 matches.
Couldn’t get the desired Indian outings
Karthik made his debut for India back in 2004. 23 Tests, 79 ODIs and 14 T20Is is what he achieved being in the fray for close to 14 years. One may feel that the presence of MS Dhoni during the same era, could not give the desired game time to Karthik, but besides that the player too did not quite manage to bring solidity in his inclusions with inconsistency hampering his confidence as a pure batsman. But now he has put this behind him and is enjoying a new lease of life.
The challenges at KKR
Karthik will find out that captaining an IPL franchise which has a history of winning the trophy twice, will be slightly different to leading in TNPL and his state in domestic cricket. For now getting all the players into a sync and making the environment friendly for the uncapped youngsters will be his task. KKR is a thin looking batting unit, and therefore consistency will be for Karthik to get bulk of runs for the side.
WATCH: Karthik’s message to the fans

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