If Virat Kohli has been in the news for his extended lean patch with the bat, Dinesh Karthik has been the man who has stolen headlines for making a stunning comeback to the Indian cricket team in the past few months. There’s no doubt about the fact that Dinesh Karthik’s return to Team India has been extraordinary, to say the least, considering that he lost favor with the Indian selectors after the 2019 ODI World Cup and shifted to commentary for a while before earning plaudits for his role of a finisher for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). Remarkably, he did it all at the age of 37. At a time when Dinesh Karthik has received immense praise for his heroics with the bat in the death overs, former India star Vivek Razdan has slammed both the veteran batter and the selectors for picking him in the national team for his finishing abilities.

Vivek Razdan even dubbed the decision of the selection committee as “bizarre” because he believes that India had other men who could do Dinesh Karthik’s job better than him.

According to Vivek Razdan, the likes of Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, and to a certain extent Suryakumar Yadav could change gears depending on the situation in games. That’s why the Indians didn’t need the services of Dinesh Karthik in the team.

“Picking Dinesh Karthik only as a finisher, and blocking that space, seems very bizarre to me. You tell me who among Suryakumar Yadav, Virat Kohli, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya can’t do that job of a finisher?” Vivek Razdan said on FanCode.

“Finisher’s role is one such that it is hard to be consistent. Every time you get in, you should be able to make an impact that will help the team. It works both ways, the bowlers are clever and they try to force you to hit into the wind as much as possible. That makes it all the more tougher,” the cricketer-turned pundit added.

Dinesh Karthik took the IPL by storm by making 251 runs in 121 balls in the death overs with a strike rate of well over 200. He succeeded in carrying his form forward while playing for India, scoring 164 runs off 104 deliveries at a superb average of 157.7 during the five-match T20I series against South Africa at home and then in England.

However, Dinesh Karthik wasn’t at his best in the recent West Indies series in the Caribbean as he managed to score only 66 runs in four outings at an underwhelming average of 22 and a not-so-impressive strike rate of 132.

In the fifth and final game of the T20I series against the West Indies, Dinesh Karthik was deceived by a slower one from Odean Smith as the Tamil Nadu batter tried to up the ante quite early in his knock.

In his attempt to clear the fence with a reverse sweep, Dinesh Karthik lost his wicket, and his decision to employ the shot was criticized by former India spinner Pragyan Ojha.

“It is not as if you can’t score runs easily. When you are getting runs at the front, when you can score with a straight bat, why do you have to try something like this? It was such a good chance for him. I think he will be very unhappy with himself after that shot,” Pragyan Ojha said.

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Earlier, Dinesh Karthik was included in India’s Asia Cup squad, leading to arguments between two former cricketers.

While former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth dubbed him as a “reserve batter”, Kiran More threw his weight behind Dinesh Karthik, saying that he has done well at the fag end of the innings.

“No.8 would have been Shami. I had picked Shami in my team. He’s not there. So No. 8 would be Chahal. Medium pacers have to be Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh. Now I feel they will bring in Deepak Hooda as an extra floater. So between 7 and 8 it could be Jadeja or Hooda. Looks like it. That’s the best combination. Because if you pick three spinners then you will get into problem. 3 pacers, three spinners – that would be a bit too much. Dinesh Karthik will probably be a reserve batsman. I don’t know whether he will be in the XI. I have my doubts there,” Srikkanth told Star Sports.

“In my XI I have Dinesh Karthik. If he sits out then I wouldn’t have taken him. I will play him. You have given him the finisher’s role and he has played well and has won matches for India. Pant has scored runs in IPL but not elsewhere. He has struggled a bit. But he is a superb player. And Karthik, woh mere team me baithega hi baithega. I wouldn’t go with Hooda. I will play Karthik, then Hardik and Jadeja,” Kiran More countered.

The Asia Cup begins on August 27 in the United Arab Emirates.