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‘Was sitting in my shorts’ – Karthik was surprised by World Cup semi-final promotion

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik has revealed how he was taken by surprise when asked to bat ahead of MS Dhoni in India’s World Cup 2019 semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

Chasing 240 in Manchester, India were on the mat at 5-3 in the fourth over, when Karthik was promoted to No.5 to try and arrest the slide. He managed a 29-ball 6 before being dismissed off the last ball of the 10th over, as India eventually fell 18 runs short.

“It came as a bit of a surprise to me [playing at five] because they had made it very clear that I would be batting at number seven,” Karthik told Cricbuzz. “But they didn’t expect something like that to happen because we were going pretty strong in the tournament.”

In his previous World Cup innings, against Bangladesh, Karthik had played at No.7, but with India’s top three out cheaply to New Zealand’s searing quicks, the experienced Karthik’s services were suddenly pressed into action.

“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.”

“Throughout the tournament it was pretty clear that I was going to bat below Dhoni at No.7. I had done that really well in the past.”

Karthik, who has played in all positions from No.1 to No.7 during his ODI career, feels he did the job asked out of him that day, but could not carry on after weathering the storm, as India’s untested middle order caved under pressure.

“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.”

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