Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have got their new captain ahead of the IPL 2018. Dinesh Karthik was named as captain, who will lead KKR in the IPL this season. Karthik was bought by KKR in this year’s mega auction for INR 7.4 Crore. This year the team has decided not to buy back Gautam Gambhir, their long-serving captain. In addition, KKR has announced the name of Robin Uthappa as their Vice Captain in this year’s IPL.
It is noteworthy that Dinesh Karthik has previous experience of captaincy, leading Tamil Nadu in the domestic cricket. Under Karthik’s leadership the Tamil Nadu team had won the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2009-10. Apart from this, Karthik had also led the India Red side in last year’s Duleep Trophy and the TUTI Patriots for their T20 format in the 2016 Tamil Nadu Premier League. In both the tournaments, he won the title for the team.
Speaking about being chosen as the captain of KKR, Karthik said, “It is an honour to represent Kolkata Knight Riders, one of the most successful franchises in the IPL and I look forward to this new challenge. I am excited about the squad that has been assembled, which has a great combination of experience and youth. I will do my best to represent brand KKR and the millions of KKR fans.”
In the 2017 IPL, Karthik was playing for Gujarat Lions. His stats in last year’s T20 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 were impressive with 361 runs at an average of 36.1. His best IPL performance was demonstrated in the sixth edition of the tournament where he scored 510 runs playing for Mumbai Indians. In addition, Dinesh Karthik has also played for Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore. As an IPL player Karthik has some very rich statistics behind him. He has made 2903 runs at an impressive strike rate of 125.94. He also was behind the 114 dismissals as wicket keeper in his IPL career so far.
KKR Assistant Coach Simon Katich said on Karthik’s selection as the captain, “I think the thing that stood out is that Karthik is at the age now in his career where he’s got the best years of his career in front of him. He’s been involved in the IPL for 10 years. He’s got a fantastic domestic record captaining Tamil Nadu in the T20 tournament there. I think he’s got a 72% win-rate, which is outstanding as a T20 skipper. And obviously, the other thing about him is that he’s got a lot of respect from the players given what he’s achieved on the field and what he’s achieved as a captain domestically.”
Katich added, “He knows the conditions extremely well. He knows all the overseas players inside out having played so well over the last 10 years and this is a great time to give that opportunity to him and see what he can do.”
Robin Uthappa, who will be the deputy to Karthik in this IPL was also optimistic about the selection. Uthappa said, “DK and I know each other from our U-17 playing days; I’m really excited to work with him. I’m sure all of Kolkata will be right behind DK, as will I and as will the rest of the team. I’m going to be available to DK any time he needs me, always ready to share my inputs. DK and I have known each other since our Under-17 days, so looking forward to working with him.”