Dinesh Karthik (DK) made his Team India return earlier this week when he played his first match in national colours since July 2019 against South Africa in the series opener in Delhi. The veteran wicketkeeper batter was selected for the Indian cricket team on the back of a series of solid performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the prestigious T20 competition Dinesh Karthik took on the role of a finisher for his franchise the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with aplomb, scoring 330 runs in 16 matches at a stunning strike rate of 183.33. In the first game against the Proteas, Dinesh Karthik walked out to bat in the penultimate over and remained not out 1 after facing two balls. Ahead of India’s second match at Cuttack, Dinesh Karthik made a number of disclosures about his personal choices, including his favourite footballer and tennis player. In a fun segment of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) ‘This or That’ game, Dinesh Karthik revealed that Roger Federer and Lionel Messi were the sports stars he loved watching the most.

During the session, Dinesh Karthik was asked whether he would take out a film star or sports star for lunch? To this, the Tamil Nadu-born batter replied:

“Roger Federer. I have always been enamoured by him, the way he carries himself both on and off the field.”

When he was asked to choose between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the 37-year-old said: “Messi. He is slightly different. I enjoy watching him in the little that I have watched.”

When a question was put over to him to pick between Swiss icon Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who recently won a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title at the French Open, he said: “I guess Federer.”

Among other questions, Dinesh Karthik was asked to pick between Tea and Coffee and he opted for the former.

Between Instagram and Twitter, Dinesh Karthik was asked to choose his favourite social media platform, he picked the latter.

Coming back to the India vs South Africa series, the home team would look to bounce back after their shock defeat in the first game in Delhi.

The Indians were on top after posting a huge score of 211 in the first innings. But Rassie van der Dussen (75*) and David Miller’s (64*) sensational batting mean that the Temba Bavuma-led chased down the target in just 19.1 overs, winning the contest by seven wickets.

Meanwhile, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has backed Dinesh Karthik to make Team India’s squad for the World Cup Down Under.

Are you 1000% a sports fan?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch newsletter.

*Sign up now and receive your own one-of-a-kind ClutchPoints photoshop with yourself and your favorite player!

According to the legendary cricketer, Dinesh Karthik’s performance in the IPL has made him confident that he would be able to do well in Australia.

“I would have him, and I’d have him in at that five or six role,” Ponting told the ICC Review. “The way that he finished games for RCB this year, he took his game to another level.”

“When you look at the IPL, you want your better players to maybe be able to win two or three, maybe four games through the season. If you can get that out of them, it’s probably going to be a really good return. But Dinesh probably had a bigger impact on a lot of the games than most of the other RCB players did this year,” The Tasmanian continued.

Virat (Kohli) having the year he’s had, Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) started the tournament really well … but DK was the one. And Faf too I guess, who kept the RCB bandwagon rolling. I’d be surprised if he’s not in there (India) line-up somewhere,” Ponting summed up.

Just like Ponting, Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has also been impressed with Dinesh Karthik, saying he was included in the Indian cricket team to do a specific job at a particular position in the batting line and he should now deliver on his promise.

“With Dinesh it is pretty obvious and very clear. He has made a comeback based on the skills that he has shown in a particular phase of the game. The phase of the game that Dinesh, at the back-end, has really been able to show skills over the last two or three years, he has been able to be a point of difference for whichever team that he has played,” Rahul Dravid said in a press conference a few days before India’s first T20I against the Proteas in Delhi.

“I see that as no different (in Team India). That’s why he has been picked. He has been picked to bat in that kind of position, and see whether he can replicate those kind of performance for India as well,” Dravid concluded.