With MS Dhoni’s ascent, Indian cricket entered a new era. Many people find inspiration in the young man from Ranchi, Jharkhand, who developed into a giant in the world of cricket. Another wicketkeeper-batter began his tenure with the Men in Blue a few months before to Dhoni’s India debut in December 2004 against Bangladesh. Dinesh Karthik was his name. In September 2004, he made his ODI debut at Lord’s against England.
Dinesh Karthik, though, quickly established himself as the former India captain’s understudy due to Dhoni’s overwhelming dominance. Dinesh Karthik put in a lot of work and is still competing at the highest level, whereas Dhoni went on to win three ICC titles as India’s captain. He even represented India in the 2022 T20 World Cup. As Dhoni-mania was only getting started, Karthik talked of making his debut. “I made my debut before him. We went together on an India A tour and from there I got picked for the Indian team, he was still there in India A team,” Karthik said on the RCB podcast.
“That was the first time I played a four-day match together with him. I did so well that they picked me for the Indian team. From there, they went on another trip, there was an ODI tournament where he just blasted it. People stood up and said there is nobody like him. They said he’s a special player. Obviously, I came to the Indian team, but by then the Dhoni mania was so big that you had to pick him. He then replaced me in all formats and he did very well. At the end of the day, it is all about taking opportunities. You got to be ready to take opportunities.
“I was chasing excellence. I was constantly on the path of becoming the best cricketer in the world. Dhoni was there, but he wasn’t there – that wasn’t my lookout. He was doing very well for himself. I knew that he had settled into all teams. He made no mistake at the start. They sent him up an order, he got a hundred in ODI. He then went to Test cricket and scored 85. He kept brilliantly. Most importantly, he became a brand overnight. People were after him. He was a hugely popular sportsperson right from the outset. I was always the understudy but I was always on the lookout for opportunities, doing something special.” Karthik is now gearing up for the Indian Premier League, where he plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore. Dhoni is also preparing for the IPL for Chennai Super Kings.