Bengaluru, May 22 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore head coach Sanjay Bangar believes things just were ‘not clicking’ for veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik to bring out his famed finishing knocks for the franchise in IPL 2023.
Karthik’s failure to get finishing kicks for the team in IPL 2023 hurt Bangalore a lot, apart from meagre returns from other middle-order batters too. In IPL 2022, Karthik hit 330 runs at a strike rate of 183.33 in 16 matched and helped the side get desired finishing touches to their innings, which also paved his way into India’s squad for 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
“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). 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,” said Bangar in the post-match press conference.
But he couldn’t replicate the same form from last year’s competition in IPL 2023, scoring only 140 runs from 13 matches. On Sunday, Karthik fell for a duck, his 17th such instance in the history of the competition, as Bangalore, despite Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 101, crashed out of the tournament through a six-wicket defeat to Gujarat Titans at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
“More than anybody, if there’s one guy who would be disappointed the most, it’s Dinesh. Because he prides himself as a professional and wants to contribute to the team’s cause. So we could see it in him. Even till today’s game, we were hoping that he would come good. But that wasn’t meant to be. So we live and we learn and move ahead,” added Bangar.
Apart from Karthik, Mahipal Lomror, Anuj Rawat and Shahbaz Ahmed couldn’t get the big runs consistently in the middle-order, resulting in pressure remaining high on big three of Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell to slam huge knocks consistently, something which Bangar admitted.
“It can be a factor. Once you lose a couple of wickets, if the batters are not in form… T20 is such a format that you don’t have time to work back into form. That may have had an effect.”
“Maybe if our lower order was going strong and converting whatever fewer balls they had, we would have gotten 10-15 runs extra or maybe the top order would have played more fearlessly. Our batting in the powerplay and middle overs were excellent but our contributions in the last five overs in most games did hurt us a bit.”
Bangar signed off by conceding the young Indian batters should have done better in whatever opportunities they got in IPL 2023. “Last season, our top order wasn’t scoring that many runs. That meant the bulk of scoring was done by the lower order in Shahbaz and Dinesh, who had a fantastic season last year.”
“But this season the top order was batting so well, the opportunity to the lower order was limited. DK had a season which 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.”
“And you have to be patient with the young players, that’s something most teams agree to and you have to invest time. Mahipal had his share of innings but he should have been a little more consistent. We will go back to the drawing board and see what kind of continuity we want to give to the players, and we will assess the season once the dust settles.”