Dinesh Karthik has to be a part of India's 2019 World Cup plans

Ajit Vijaykumar 09:38 08/07/2018
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Some cricketers get numerous opportunities to prove their worth. Team managements tend to wait that extra few games to give the player an opportunity to make his mark, generally because of his unique talent.

Rohit Sharma made his international debut for India in 2007 but scored his first century three years later. In 2012, Rohit was dismissed for single digit scores 11 times in ODIs and T20s from 22 outings.

But the management persisted with him and from 2013, he became a limited-overs behemoth. He now has three ODI double tons under his belt, ensuring the faith shown in him by successive team managements didn’t go to waste.

Dinesh Karthik is not Rohit. The wicketkeeper batsman is one of those talented yet unfortunate players whose prime coincided with that of an all-time great. He made his international debut the same year as MS Dhoni and despite playing a critical role with the bat in the 2007 Test series win in England, saw the spotlight taken by Dhoni for the next decade.

Now, with Dhoni out of the Test arena and playing as a specialist wicketkeeper batsman, glovemen in India are back in demand. Unfortunately for the 33-year-old Karthik, keepers like Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan have already been lined as the men to take hold behind the stumps for years to come. However, Karthik is in the grand scheme of things until the next season at least and with the World Cup in England next year, should consider himself a prospect.

But for that to happen, the team management must realise his value. This is the same Karthik who got three fifties opening the innings in Tests to secure a historic Test series win in England. This is the same Karthik who scored 29 from eight balls while chasing in the Nidahas Trophy T20 final against Bangladesh when the match was dead and buried. Karthik was even appointed Kolkata Knight Riders captain for this year’s IPL campaign, with the franchise finishing third.

And yet, Karthik has played only one out of India’s four T20 matches so far in Ireland and England. He even didn’t get the chance to to bat. One would have thought that after his breathtaking batting under intense pressure in the Nidahas final with 34 needed from 12 balls, Karthik would be one of the first players to be picked at least in the T20 team.

With 14 years of experience in international cricket, Karthik’s undiminished hitting power and ability to bat anywhere in the order – with or without the keeping gloves – should have made him a permanent fixture in India’s limited overs set-up. This is the time when Karthik can deliver, yet Virat Kohli has shown more faith in players like Manish Pandey and even Suresh Raina over the past season or so.

It is high time the Indian management realises that an experienced and still highly effective Karthik solves many problems for India. He can bat anywhere in the order, is a livewire in the field and a Test-level wicketkeeper. Plus his technique is ideal for English conditions. Your Pandeys and Kedar Jadhavs have been given enough opportunities. Even Raina doesn’t offer the versatility that Karthik offers. Now if only Kohli reads this piece…

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India pacer Sreesanth and other cricketers turned gym buffs

Ajit Vijaykumar 09:17 08/07/2018
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Cricketers have many interests away from the field. Some times they are as good, even better, at it. That interest comes in handy especially after the playing days are over.

Many take up corporate jobs, while some start their own business. Only a handful get to remain associated with the sport in a professional capacity well into retirement.

Of the many hats that cricketers wear during and after their playing days, hardcore bodybuilding is one that is seen rarely. India’s former fast bowler S Sreesanth is one of the few cricketers who have taken up bodybuilding seriously.

Here, we take a look at the three big such names.

S SREESANTH

The former India fast bowler has hit the gym pretty hard. The 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup winner has already dabbled in some acting, also taking part in reality TV. He also stood for elections in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where he remains popular even after his name got linked to the 2013 IPL spot fixing scandal that resulted in a life ban from BCCI.

And now, Sreesanth has turned to bodybuilding. And looking at his latest pics, it’s safe to say he has achieved what he had set out to do.

CHRIS TREMLETT

The former England fast bowler was always a big lad, towering over everyone at 6’8″. He was always conscious of his size. However, after his cricketing career was cut short by a back problem, Tremlett decided to become even bigger. He turned into a gym freak as he worked on property investment.

Just look at his social media posts. Maybe a career in films awaits.

DAVID LAWRENCE

Former England pacer David Lawrence.

Former England pacer David Lawrence.

The former England fast bowler played five Tests and one ODI before a harrowing knee injury ended his pace bowling. While playing in New Zealand in 1992, Lawrence’s knee shattered in his bowling stride with the horrifying sound of the injury reaching the boundary rope.

Lawrence was a regular at the gym and after his cricketing career stalled, took to professional bodybuilding. In 2014, he was crowned the National Amateur Body Building Association’s West of England champion in the ‘Over 40’ category.

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Virat Kohli shares image of MS Dhoni's 37th birthday celebrations at team hotel in Cardiff

Sport360 staff 15:51 07/07/2018
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Image - Twitter/@imVkohli.

India stalwart MS Dhoni celebrated his birthday on Saturday at Cardiff as he turned 37. The wicketkeeper-batsman could be seen cutting a cake at the team hotel in presence of the players and their spouses in a video posted by a fan account.

All across social media, birthday greetings have been pouring in for ‘Captain Cool’ with the likes of Suresh Raina, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rashid Khan and Sikhar Dhawan all sending in their wishes for the veteran.

India skipper Virat Kohli was not going to be left behind with the 29-year-old taking to Twitter to post an image of Dhoni smeared with some birthday cake on his face. Kohli’s wife Anushka Sharma could also be seen in the image.

“Happy birthday Mahi Bhai. God bless you,” Kohli wrote on the Twitter post accompanying the image.

Dhoni’s birthday was celebrated at the team hotel in Cardiff after India had tasted a five-wicket defeat at the hands of England in the second T20 at Sophia Gardens on Friday.

On Saturday, the BCCI posted a special video on Twitter in which the Indian players led by Kohli can be seen wishing the legend a happy birthday.

The Ranchi-born stalwart had entered the record books on Friday as he became only the third Indian in history to make 500 international appearances across all formats for the country. Only Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid had achieved the feat previously amongst Indian players.

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