Chennai Super Kings lost just their second game of the 2019 IPL season when they went down by 6 wickets to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Batting first, the visitors managed just 132 for 5 in their 20 overs and in reply, the hosts reached the target with 19 balls to spare.
Even before the first ball was bowled, Chennai were in for a rude shock as captain MS Dhoni pulled out of the game with back spasm. Dhoni had issue with his back in the last two games as well but kept playing. In Hyderabad, it was decided to give the captain some rest so that he fully recovers for the business end of the tournament and more importantly for the World Cup in England.
This brings us to a comment from Dinesh Karthik - India's back-up wicket-keeper in the World Cup bound squad, who has called himself a "band-aid" that the team will use if Dhoni is unavailable due to injury or illness.
"Look, as far as MS Dhoni is concerned, I am just that small first-aid kit that will travel with the team. If he (Dhoni) gets injured then I will be the band-aid for the day. I am, however aware that I can bat at No. 4 and or be the finisher, if given the opportunity. Post IPL, I will prepare every day knowing and believing that I can deliver purely as a batsman as I have performed that role earlier. It is a special occasion, I am lucky and grateful. My journey for the 2019 World Cup began when I returned to the Indian team in 2017. I started believing that if I do something special, I can be part of this amazing team that will play the World Cup," said Karthik, who was preferred over Rishabh Pant for his superior wicketkeeping skills in the WC squad.
When Karthik had been axed from the Indian squad in Pant's favour for the home ODI series against Australia, speculation was rife that the younger Pant will pip him for a spot in the World Cup squad too. However, Karthik revealed that he had been kept in the loop by the selectors about the planning that had been put in place for the World Cup with regard to the wicket-keeping position.
"The chairman (MSK Prasad) called me up and said that the selection committee has decided to give both wicket-keepers equal opportunities. He made it very clear that they would be giving me an opportunity on India's tour of Australia and New Zealand, and irrespective of my performance, Rishabh will be given his chance in India's home series against Australia. It was very clear communication and I liked the clarity. There will always be someone who will miss out, that's the nature of the game. But we (Pant and I) never talked about it. He was aware of his opportunity and so was I. If he had been selected, I would have been disappointed. Now that I have been selected, I'm sure he is a bit disappointed," Karthik clarified.