Those hearing Dinesh Karthik speak in Southampton on Saturday (June 19) would’ve been pardoned for forgetting he remains an active cricketer, who isn’t a regular in the commentary box.
Karthik made a seamless transition to the ‘box’, with a sweet and calm behind-the-mic debut at the start of the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
It would’ve helped that he had done a bit of work with Sky before this. But many of Dinesh Karthik’s traits – a nice, polite attitude combined with that endearing eagerness (at times jitteriness) – were vivid as he went about mixing with pros such as Nasser Hussain, Simon Doull, Kumar Sangakkara among others with ease.
There were no obvious sign of inexperience or nervous energy, or any exaggerated effort to prove his worth in a new field. It was just Karthik being Karthik. Natural. Cheery. Refreshing. At times, funny. Likeable overall.
Dinesh Karthik indulges in banter with Nasser Hussain, makes swift transition to the commentary box
Dinesh Karthik knew his shortcomings and was willing to lean onto his more experienced pros for help. He let them do the talking and allowed their light to shine bright on him.
If there were any flaws in his judgement or fluency, fans looked past them. They adored him, in fact, with tweets flowing in rich praise of his commentary avatar.
The moment of the day came quite early, in his first stint itself, when Karthik indulged in some great banter with Hussain, who wouldn’t have expected what come his way when he started that conversation on Rohit Sharma.
As Hussain talked up the stats displayed on screen related to the Indian opener’s game, Dinesh Karthik caught him off-guard with his mischievous streak.
Hussain: Rohit is a great puller of the short ball. Uses his feet well against spin. Shows positive intent.
Karthik: Yes, exactly the opposite of you.
It left even Hussain in splits, as you could hear his laughter as a viewer.
For Hussain, it would be on par being sledged by Rahul Dravid during the 2015 World Cup. As Hussain touched on whether India have peaked a bit too early given the knock-outs were only starting, Dravid had told him, “yes, but you got to peak at some stage to make it that far” – which was in obvious reference to England, who couldn’t reach past the group stage.
A comfortable and confident beginning sets it up well for Karthik, who, of course, wouldn’t want to become a regular feature of the comm box just as yet, but adds good value, a sense of newness to the craft of describing and informing of the cricket match.