Both Dhoni and Karthik were roommates during India A team’s tour of Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Before the arrival of Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the international stage, the Indian team had tried many wicketkeeper-batter options, although none of them could cement their position in the team due to different reasons. Some batted well but lagged keeping skills or vice versa, and the team’s search for a player who could play both roles to perfection continued.
However, that answer was found in the name of MS Dhoni when he barged into the scene in 2004 and shone bright with his thunderous batting exploits almost immediately. Narrating an interesting anecdote from that time, former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra revealed how MS Dhoni bowled to Dinesh Karthik, his competitor in the national team for the wicketkeeper-batter slot, during team India’s A tour of Kenya and Zimbabwe. Notably, both Dhoni and Karthik were a part of the tour and used to share a room.
I knew that door was closed once Dhoni came in: Dinesh Karthik
“I want to take you back to the 2004 A tour of Kenya and Zimbabwe. MS Dhoni was also part of that tour and I distinctly remember Dhoni bowling to you in the nets. Because he was my roommate, I told Dhoni ‘don’t bowl to him (Karthik), he is your competition. And if you want to bowl, at least bat. What are you doing? He will play for India, he is almost there, sometimes you need to also play’. But Dhoni said, ‘no, no, I want to bowl’,” Chopra said on his Youtube channel.
Dinesh Karthik, who has played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs and 32 T20Is for India, stated that Dhoni ‘took the complete country by storm’, and he knew that the wicketkeeper position is closed for anyone else in the national team.
“When Dhoni came in, he took the complete country by storm and I knew that door was closed. Keeper-batsman is always a decade-long job. Syed Kirmani was there, then Kiran More. Dhoni was a once-in-a-generation kind of cricketer. Take Ian Healy or Adam Gilchrist, if you are a good keeper, you are there for 10-12 years,” said Karthik.
Karthik still believes that he can make a comeback to the national team and has previously mentioned about wating to play the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE in October-November.