Hasta La Vista, DK: Dinesh Karthik Set to Retire, But Andy Flower Hints at the Wicketkeeper’s Return as a ‘Coach’

    DK Retires from IPL | May cpme back as 'Coach - Andy Flower

    After being part of the league for 17 years and representing six franchises, Dinesh Karthik has finally decided to hang his boots

    Hearts were broken, the eyes wet, and disappointment galloped the Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) camp following the 4-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 Eliminator in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. But before Faf du Plessis’ men packed their bags and returned home, they bid farewell to their trusted wicketkeeper-batter and dynamic finisher, Dinesh Karthik.

    “Jo Jeeta, Wahi Sikandar… the winner takes it all. The IPL won’t be the same anymore without him,” said the former India opener Navjot Singh Sidhu on air when an emotional Dinesh Karthik led the RCB contingent on returning to the dressing room. The fans cheered for him with the chants of ‘DK-DK’. In return, the veteran cricketer waved at the fans before entering the staircase tunnel at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

    As flashed on JioCinema after the game, Karthik is set to retire from IPL. After being part of the league for 17 years and representing six franchises, the keeper-batter finally decided to hang up his boots. He leaves the tournament with 4842 runs, 22 half-centuries, 145 catches and 37 stumpings to his credit.

    Karthik, the journeyman

    DK has been an integral part of the league since its inception in 2008. He started his journey with Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) before moving to Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in 2011. He spent his next two seasons with Mumbai Indians before returning to Delhi in 2014. The following year, RCB acquired him before he played for Gujarat Lions in 2016 and 2017.

    Karthik spent the next four years with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), leading the side in the first two seasons of his association. He returned to RCB in 2022, and his second essay with the franchise revived his international career, putting him on a flight to Australia for the T20 World Cup in 2022.

    The massive role of Abhishek Nayar’s

    His father, Krishna Kumar, called his India comeback a ‘miracle’, giving massive credit to domestic veteran and IPL coach Abhishek Nayar for changing his life.

    “Life changed when Abhishek Nayar came into his life,” Krishna Kumar had told the Indian Express.

    “He (Nayar) made him get up at 2 am in the night and made him run over the hills. He will design practice sessions for him and he travelled like a tennis player. A power-hitting coach RX Murali was hired. There is a team that works and talks to him,” he added.

    Juggling two roles – player & commentator

    After the T20 World Cup 2022, Team India entered a transitional phase, during which the big names were gone and youngsters came to the fore. With no space left in the new-look Indian dressing room, Karthik headed back to the commentary box but kept himself attached to the Tamil Nadu team in the domestic circuit.

    He even ensured proper preparation before turning up for the RCB in the summer. News18 CricketNext reported earlier in February that Karthik would take a break from commentary duties in the fifth India vs. England Test in Dharamsala to participate in the DY Patil T20 tournament.

    Throwing his hat in the ring for T20 World Cup 2024

    Come the IPL 2024, and Karthik was back in the skin of a finisher. The knocks he played to help RCB set big scores indicated that the Ajit Agarkar-led selection panel might hand him one last chance in India colours. The speculations started looking real when Rohit Sharma mocked him during an MI vs RCB fixture at Wankhede.

    “World Cup ke selection ke liye push karna hai isko, shabash. Dimag mein chal raha hai iske World Cup. Shabash DK, World Cup khelna hai,” Rohit said on the stump mic. While speaking on a Podcast, the India skipper even mentioned that it would be ‘easy to convince DK rather than MS Dhoni.’

    The final goodbye

    After an eventful couple of months, the fans finally realized that DK’s path was heading elsewhere. The farewell could have been sweeter if RCB had won the Eliminator, guaranteeing a grand goodbye to one of the longest-serving Indian cricketers in the IPL at his home in Chennai. But it is what it is. Karthik had his last hurrah in Ahmedabad with a heavy heart.

    He likes the idea of coaching: RCB coach Andy Flower

    Addressing the post-match presser on Tuesday in Ahmedabad, RCB coach Andy Flower reserved huge praise for Karthik and his contribution this season.

    “It’s has been an absolute pleasure to work with him this season. I’ve never worked with him that closely before. I remember meeting him when I was the England coach, and he was playing for India. We had some interesting chats about batting at Lord’s. I liked him from the outside then. And after working with him, I like and respect him even more,” Flower said.

    “He’s been sensational. He hadn’t played a lot of cricket leading into this tournament and whatever he has done for us has been really special and I respect it,” he added.

    Speaking further, Flower didn’t deny that Karthik may become a coach in the future.

    “He is going to be super successful in whatever endeavours he goes on to. He is a brilliant commentator already. He likes the idea of coaching as well, working with others and helping them, which I’m not surprised about. He may have great success when he does that,” he added.

    Courtesy: News18

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