'We tried to define the role for him' - RCB coach on Dinesh Karthik's lacklustre run
After enjoying the highest of highs last summer, Dinesh Karthik came crashing down to earth with a disastrous campaign in IPL 2023 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The experienced wicketkeeper-batter, who had an inspirational comeback season with the famed franchise last season, endured a lacklustre run with the bat in hand.
Karthik, who lit up the scene with a terrific 330 runs at a strike-rate of 183.33 and played the end-overs aggressor's role valiantly for Faf du Plessis' men, suffered a major dip in RCB's just-concluded run, scoring only 140 runs in his 13 innings at a modest rate of 134.62.
The 37-year-old was expected to lead the middle-order pack and help RCB resolve a longstanding problem. Instead, his persistent drought of runs dented the RCB plans quite a bit, making it tougher for their top order, which had to find a balance between attack and caution throughout the summer.
In his last innings of the tournament, Dinesh Karthik, who walked in with RCB in a position of strength at 133/4, ended with a first-ball duck and failed to provide his team the impetus that may have propelled them past the 200-run mark. RCB ultimately lost to defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) by six wickets in the 20th over and suffered yet another league-stage exit.
Sanjay Bangar opens up on Dinesh Karthik's poor IPL 2023
With Dinesh Karthik under the spotlight for a sustained blip in his output, RCB batting coach Sanjay Bangar came out in defence of the veteran cricketer, insisting that it's the execution that went missing, even though their premier end-overs hitter was sticking to the process that reaped him dividends in IPL 2022.
"We tried to define the role for him. We made sure that he was walking in at the moments or in the phases where his strengths could have been maximised. And he had an outstanding season [last year]," Bangar said at the post-match press conference following RCB's season-ending loss.
"So I don't think that his efforts or his preparation or the role clarity that we gave was different last season. It's just that it didn't click this season."
Bangar admitted, however, that Karthik's poor run with the bat held the RCB wings back consistently throughout the campaign, leaving them short of runs in matches where another 15-20 may have made all the difference and allowed the franchise to enter the playoffs stage.
"DK had a season that is probably below his standard, if he had clicked in a couple of games that would have meant we would have added 15-20 runs more in the games that were the crunch ones and those runs could have been the difference in winning and losing a game," the batting coach said.