Whatever situation comes, Karthik's ready: Rohit
Dinesh Karthik is always ready to deliver whatever the situation may be and his experience and repertoire of strokes make him a suitable candidate to provide the final flourish for India at the death overs, skipper Rohit Sharma said.
Wicket-keeper batsman Karthik (29 of 8 balls), who has made sporadic international appearances, produced a last-ball six as India pulled off an incredible chase beating Bangladesh by four wickets in the Nidhas T20 Tri-series final, in Colombo, on Sunday night.
"He was with us on the previous tour in South Africa and didn't get much game time. To do what he did today will give him a lot of confidence going forward," Rohit told reporters.
"Most important thing he has is belief in himself. Whatever situation comes, he's ready - whether he bats up the order or down the order. That's the kind of guy we need in our team."
Rohit revealed Karthik was not happy that he was not batting higher in the order but the Indian skipper defended his decision of sending him at number 7 saying his experience and skills made him a suitable candidate to provide the late charge in the final overs.
"When I got out, I went and sat in the dugout and Dinesh was quite upset that he didn't bat at No. 6," Rohit said.
"But I told him: 'I want you to bat and finish off the game for us, because whatever skill you have, it will be required in the last three or four overs'. That is the only reason he was not batting at No. 6 in the 13th over when I got out. He was upset with that, but he'll be quite happy now how he finished off the game."
Lavishing praise on Karthik, Rohit said: "I have to go back to the kinds of shots that he has in his books - it suits him to finish off games at the death where you have to use that one fielder that is inside the circle - either fine leg, or mid-off or short third man."
"He can always play those ramp shots which he played in the end to Rubel Hossain. He knows that. I thought Mustafizur (Rahman) would bowl probably the 18th and the 20th overs, and we wanted an experienced guy to handle him."
"We knew he would come out with his offcutters and Dinesh probably would have been a better choice at that point. He has done it for his state team and also for Mumbai Indians."
Washington Sundar alongwith Yuzvendra Chahal finished as the tournament's highest wicket-takers, with eight dismissals apiece and Rohit singled out the allrounder for special praise.
"I think throughout the series Sundar's bowling has been magical for us. What he has done with the new ball is quite incredible, I would say. Not anyone can just take the pressure of bowling within the Powerplay. Not to forget he also got wickets at the same time. He didn't allow any of the opposition to score runs really in the Powerplay," Rohit said.
"The skillset that he has - he's quite courageous to do what he wants to do in the middle. It's not just one or two games. He consistently bowled in the Powerplay, and always kept us in the games. We identified him as one of the promising talents who can play for the national team for many years. This tournament will give him a lot of confidence."
Rohit said the young team showed character and executed the plans perfectly.
"Great tournament for us. Everybody who played, they showed lots of character. These games are not easy and these guys have not played a lot for the national team. And this performance will give them a lot of confidence. Some of them went for runs, but they will learn from it," he said.
Sundar, who was adjudged the Man of the Series, said it was challenging to bowl in the powerplay.
"It means a lot, especially such an award at such a young age. It's a challenging role (bowling in Powerplay) but when playing for your country, it's just an honour," he said.
"I've always wanted to read the batsmen's mind, and that's what I have been trying to do. I really wanted to be there when we win the game and I think Dinesh bhai played really well and it turned out to be a memorable series for me."
Though disappointed to end up on the losing side, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan praised his team for playing well throughout the series and credited India for showing better nerves under pressure to pull off the narrow win in the final.
"You can't ask for more in a final like this. I thought we played superbly, anybody could have won the game, but India held their nerves well," he said.
"We wanted to bowl our best bowler in the 18th and 19th. But even if Rubel had gone for 15 an over, we could have handled it. He didn't miss his length too much but credit to Dinesh Karthik to just come out and hit sixes from his first ball."
"We knew 166 would be tough to defend, we had a good feeling though, everyone did their best, gave their 100 per cent. It hurts to lose, but we played well. We can still take lots of positives from here and someday we can be on the winning side."