Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik are redefining the finisher's role in the game. Dinesh Karthik is now a finisher who hits boundaries at will. Hardik Pandya is a natural stroke maker who has nailed the role of a finisher. Both having joined forces have added greater depth to India's T20I batting line-up.
The role of a finisher has changed to an extent that low risk shots are obliterated unless of course the situation demands it. It is a sharp contrast to the era of Bevan and subsequently Dhoni where high risk strokes were played only if it got to that point.
In this age of where everything is supposed to be bigger, better and louder, finishers have literally no scope for wandering. Plans are altered almost every ball and thus it is imperative that no set template is applicable.
Pandya's balance at the crease is his greatest asset. He hits every ball on the merit. Sometimes on the merit of the ball and other times on the merit of his abilities. Karthik remains calm and keeps his head still while playing the ball 360 degrees.
More and more white-ball batting cores are moving towards good all-rounder batters batting at the depth. Tim David is the perfect example. He is so solid in his defensive game and yet extends his arms at will to hit the ball over and beyond the ropes.
There is still enough work for the likes of designated six hitters, like Odean Smith, and designated boundary hitters like Andre Russell and Liam Livingstone. But ideally, what teams are looking out for is someone to combine the boundary scoring abilities of all the above and add in a dimension of batsmanship that is reflective of the demand of the situation. And situations do get trickier than normal, which it did for India in the T20I series against South Africa where Pandya and Karthik batted to build a platform and then launched an assault.
Karthik has modelled his game to an extent where he has multiple boundary options against all varieties of bowling with regards to all possible field placements. His range of hitting is one the best in the world right now.
After having made many comebacks in his career, Karthik is quite fittingly next to Pandya who perhaps understands comebacks the best at this point of time. No wonder both are batting their best versions alongside each other.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)
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