It is not often that a player draws flak for scoring the winning runs but India's wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik clearly has not made himself popular by leaving Sachin Tendulkar stranded just four runs short of a century in the third ODI against Sri Lanka.
India won the third one-dayer comfortably in Cuttack last night but an over-zealous Karthik finds himself at the centre of a debate on whether he should have allowed his senior partner Tendulkar to complete what could have been his 46th ODI century.
Former cricketers reckoned that Karthik could have given more strike to Tendulkar since there were still some overs left but were not willing to be too harsh on the young keeper whose priority was to take India to victory.
"Karthik's not mature enough. He could have given more strike to Tendulkar to complete a well-deserved hundred. Karthik was too excited to finish off the game himself," former India spinner Bapu Nadkarni said.
Karthik (32 not out), filling in for regular captain and stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is serving a two-match suspension, hit the winning runs – a four – to leave his illustrious partner stranded at an unbeaten 96 in a team total of 242 for three.
Nadkarni wondered why Karthik went for a six the over before the target was achieved.
"What was the need for that shot at that stage?" wondered Nadkarni, who was known for his accuracy in bowling.
He was referring to the Tamil Nadu player stepping out to rookie off spinner Suraj Randiv and lofting the bowler over the long-on fence in the 42nd over that brought down the target.
Tendulkar hit a four off Lasith Malinga, bowling the 43rd over, when India needed seven to overhaul Sri Lanka's modest total of 239 and then got a single to third man to give the strike to Karthik.
Karthik played out a dot ball before glancing the sling-arm action bowler for a four off the fourth ball to leave India victors with more than seven overs to spare.
Another former Test player Chandu Borde felt it was not deliberate on the youngster's part to deny Tendulkar his coveted three-figure mark in his 439th ODI.
"It would have been good if Tendulkar had scored a century. Karthik did it in his excitement, I presume. It was due to inexperience and was not deliberate. Such things happen in one's excitement to reach the target," Borde added.
Former Indian captain and batting great Sunil Gavaskar said Tendulkar should have accelerated the pace of scoring when he was in the 80s.
"You don't want to miss a hundred whatever age you are and I think this is where it brings glory to the team, to the individual and to the country", Gavaskar said.
'Karthik Should Have Allowed Tendulkar to Complete Ton'
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