CM – Dinesh Karthik Exclusive: Why The Hundred Will Work, India’s Revenge Mission – and My Shirt Collection

The 36-year-old has captured the imaginations of cricket fans with his insightful commentary – he is now set to return to the Indian squad

The Hundred may not be short of detractors, but in Dinesh Karthik, the new England and Wales Cricket Board company project has an enthusiastic supporter.

« The sky is the limit, » said Karthik, ahead of the competition launch next Wednesday. “I think it’s a very, very entertaining concept and I sincerely wish and hope that this is reflected on the screen. « 

The wish of the England & Wales Cricket Board is that the Hundred can do for sport in England what the Indian Premier League has done for the game in India since its launch in 2008.

Karthik, who has still been in the league since his debut season and will analyze the tournament and India’s five-test series against England for Telegraph Sport, is in a good position to judge if he can.

“IPL was a whole different kettle – people from different countries playing together was a new concept. For this, the format is slightly different, we are talking about balls and only 100, and you can play five at a time. There are a lot of different nuances. « 

While Karthik made 26 tryouts and 152 internationals, it was his work as a Sky commentator during England’s tour of India in March that made him endearing to England fans, who relished his combination. of contemporary views on the Indian national team and exquisite wardrobe of shirts.

« Let’s say I have a few, » Karthik laughs. “I don’t go to great lengths to try to look special – you would always see me wearing these shirts while walking down the street. So I’m very happy that people like them.

“I like to talk about boys because I know them. I understand them. I know what they’re trying to do most of the time, so I can provide insight into what a person is trying at any given time. I know so much about them because I spent so much time with them. I want the viewer to know how hard it is to play this sport and the work that goes on behind the scenes, and also sometimes when they do something stupid just say it as it is.

Karthik was at first a reluctant commentator. « In India, when you comment, you are sort of considered to be retired from gambling. »

At 36, Karthik remains a crucial player in the IPL – he plays alongside Eoin Morgan for the Kolkata Knight Riders – and has high hopes of winning a T20 encore for India as a finalist ahead of the Cups. world T20 in October and 12 months after. “I would love to be a part of one or the other, it’s been an absolute desire for a long time. I have a few IPLs to show what I’m capable of in the middle order.

To prepare for the resumption of the IPL 2021 season in September, Karthik brought his cricket kit to England, and found time to train « once or twice a week ». He is one of the few cricketers to have played under both Eoin Morgan, his captain in Kolkata, and Virat Kohli. “They are very different personalities. Virat is fierce, loyal, and someone who will set the standards, raise the bar. Morgs, on the other hand, is completely laid back, very cool, he will tell you what he wants from you and he will do whatever he can to get the best of you and get you back.

The nature of Kohli the leader is to expect his teammates to show the same ravenous zeal for self-improvement. “He sets the bar, he sets the standard, he wants to be the best in the business, and he tries to achieve it every day. All you have to do is watch, observe, and learn.

The last Test tour from India to England three years ago, when Karthik played the first two Tests, demonstrated Kohli’s ability to adapt and evolve his game. After a miserable tour of England in 2014, when he was only 13 on average, Kohli returned to England with a distinctly new technique – less boxy and hitting outside his crease to cancel the swing motion – and averaging 59.

“He had done runs and conquered the whole world,” says Karthik. “The only series he didn’t do well was the one in England in the test matches. He came back to the same questions and he had answers for each of them and it’s still a sign of a great player.

It’s a pattern some of Kohli’s teammates could follow against England, although – as Karthik warns – hitting out of the crease can also be dangerous. “It’s a huge challenge to stand outside of someone playing at 85 or 90 miles an hour, you’re literally doing four or five miles faster standing outside the crease. So you have to be prepared to deal with 90 miles an hour against outswingers and inswingers – you better have the skills to do that.

The test tour of India in 2018, which the visitors lost 4-1 despite dominating in two other tests, is seen as one of the big missed opportunities by the team in recent years. Now, following the start of the Hundreds, this series looms as yet another chance for the team to assert their claims to be the best India has ever produced.

“We beat Australia in Australia which is obviously a very healthy sign for Indian cricket,” said Karthik. “The only series they would like to come and win, especially with its rich history and heritage, is England, and they have the team to do it. « 

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