Dinesh Karthik set to end IPL career after 2024 season

India
India wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik is set to play his final IPL season this year when he appears for Royal Challengers Bangalore over the next two months. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Karthik, who turns 39 in June, will also make a final decision soon on his international future.

Karthik, who started his IPL career at Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) is part of a select group of seven players to have featured in every season of the IPL since the BCCI launched the tournament in 2008, along with MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey. Perhaps more impressively, Karthik has missed just two matches in 16 seasons.

Karthik endured a poor 2023 IPL with the bat, scoring just 140 runs overall with an average of just over 11. It was a total contrast to the stellar season he enjoyed in 2022, the year Royal Challengers bought Karthik at the auction for INR 5.5 crore (US$ 662,000 approx.). Mainly playing the role of the finisher, for which he trained diligently on his power-hitting pre-season, Karthik scored 330 runs in 16 matches at an average of 55 and an explosive strike-rate of 183.33. Karthik was one of the key reasons Royal Challengers reached the play-offs that season, before bowing out in the second qualifier.

The scorching IPL form earned Karthik a berth in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. However, he managed just 14 runs in three innings as India lost to eventual champions England in the semi-finals.

The current stint with Royal Challengers is Karthik’s second, having played a single season with them before in 2015. Overall, Karthik has represented six IPL teams: starting with Daredevils (2008-14), Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings – 2011), Mumbai Indians (2012-13), Gujarat Lions (2016-17), Knight Riders (2018-21) and Royal Challengers (2015, 2022-present). Overall in 240 matches, Karthik has scored 4516 runs at an average of nearly 26, striking at over 132 with 20 half centuries. As a keeper, Karthik is second on list behind Dhoni in overall dismissals (133) as well as stumpings (36).

An established captain at Tamil Nadu, Karthik has also led in the IPL – on six occasions as an stand-in skipper at Daredevils, and 37 matches between 2018-20 at Knight Riders before he stepped down. Overall, his captaincy record reads: 21 wins, 21 losses and one tied match.

Even as he gets ready to say farewell to cricket as a player, Karthik has already settled into what is deemed to be a second career. In 2021, while he continued playing, Karthik simultaneously got his feet wet in broadcasting, working as a pundit for the inaugural World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand and then at the Hundred. Karthik is now well established as a broadcaster, currently doing commentary in the India-England Test series.

Royal Challengers will play the tournament opener against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on March 23 at his home ground in Chepauk.

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