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Irfan Pathan Compares Dinesh Karthik’s Range of Shots With AB de Villiers

Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, AB de Villiers, India, Sunil Gavaskar,

Veteran wicketkeeper batter Dinesh Karthik made a return to the Indian cricket team on the back of a sensational Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The 37-year-old cricketer put the tournament on fire, having produced 330 runs in 16 matches at a stunning strike rate of 183.33. His incredible numbers in the IPL forced the Indian selectors to pick him for the South Africa T20I series at home. Dinesh Karthik grabbed the opportunity with both hands, as he struck an excellent 55 off 27 balls in the fourth game in Rajkot. With his superb innings in Rajkot, Dinesh Karthik became the oldest Indian to score a fifty in T20Is, surpassing the legendary MS Dhoni’s massive record. Dinesh Karthik’s recent performances have earned him a wide variety of fans, including the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Graeme Smith, and Ricky Ponting. The latest to join his fan group is none other than former India pacer Irfan Pathan, who has now compared his shot-making to South Africa icon AB de Villiers’ incredible range of strokes.

“You will not find many players with such range (of shots). The kind of range that this player has got…I am not comparing Dinesh Karthik with AB de Villiers in ability but I am talking about range. His range is like that,” Irfan Pathan told Star Sports.

“He will hit straight, switch-hit, will play fast bowlers at the leg-side, will play sweep shot. He has got all those shots. When need be, he often steps out and he also often relies on the leg-side. He uses the line really well. He uses the feet really well. He plays spin really well, he plays the fast bowlers well too. If you ask him to hit from the first ball, he does that too. As a finisher, he is really important.”

Dinesh Karthik’s remarkable turnaround has been talked about at great length in recent days. According to Sunil Gavaskar, Dinesh Karthik put his soul and heart into making a successful comeback to Team India.

“When we (him and Dinesh Karthik) went for the World Test Championship we were pretty much having lunch, breakfast, dinner together. And over there he was telling me about his ambition to come back in the India team for the T20 World Cup,” Sunil Gavaskar said during a debate on Star Sports.

“He wasn’t in line for the one in UAE but this time around he looks very well to be part of the flight that takes to Melbourne,” he added.

“He was telling me, how he was creating situation in his mind and practicing according to them. So it was not just mindless practice, it was thoughtful practice. It was practice according to what the situation might be when he’s out there,” the former India captain continued.

“Because if you’re batting at 6 and 7, you’re not going to get 20 overs, not 18 overs. You’re gonna get 5-6, maybe if the wickets fall nine overs to bat but in those nine, how to go about it is what he was practicing,” Sunil Gavaskar elaborated.

The cricketer-turned-commentator also disclosed that Dinesh Karthik was desperate to get back into the Indian cricket team and hence decided to train as hard as he could.

Sunil Gavaskar mentioned that when Dinesh Karthik felt like he couldn’t continue his “special training” in the hotel gym, he got himself enrolled at a club where the facilities were far better.

“He was also training so he got out from the hotel gym because it wasn’t good enough. He wanted to do some special training. He went and got himself enrolled in a club,” Sunil Gavaskar stated.

“That tells you about the dedication and keenness to comeback into the Indian team. And the way he’s playing now that’ll only make you admire. You’ve put in the hard yards and it’s the reward,” said the batting legend,” he concluded.

Sanjay Bangar who was RCB’s head coach in the 15th edition of the IPL too had shared identical stories about Dinesh Karthik.

Bangar said that Dinesh Karthik played domestic cricket, often local T20 events to improve his game when he was not getting opportunities to represent India at the international level.

“He has the hunger. When he wasn’t playing in the IPL, he played a lot in domestic T20 cricket. When even those matches were over, he went to Madurai and many other places to play local cricket. He wanted to practice in open wickets, as much as he could. And he is now reaping the rewards of his hard work. He has set a standard by showing such grit, determination and brilliance to make a return to the Indian team,” Bangar told Star Sports.