It’s 2022. 37-year-old Dinesh Karthik. India’s first official T20 World Cup warm-up is one day away. He enters the nets at the Brisbane Gabba, shuffles across to the second ball he encounters, squats, and then positions himself to reverse-lap the ball over the fictitious wicket-keeper. He bats for 20 minutes while making ferret-like motions, improvising, and planning. After that, he speaks with the hitting coach before pausing to get a drink.

More than four years have passed since Karthik last participated in one of his 26 Test matches, and more than three years have passed since India’s World Cup elimination put an end to his ODI career. When Karthik joined the Sky Sports commentary team for the English summer in 2021 at the age of 36, most onlookers believed his transition from international player to TV analyst was complete.

But despite his flashy suits, tinted glasses, and witty commentary, Karthik was still working hard. He travelled to distant grounds with Abhishek Nayar, a former cricketer who has been his longtime coach and confidant, and they hired entire stadiums and a support staff of cricket extras with the goal of turning Karthik into a T20 hyperspecialist finisher.

Before the T20 World Cup, which Karthik will play in for the first time at age 22, the duo opens up about their meticulously planned out and somewhat pricey regimen. They explain why the significant investment was required to meet the demands of the quickly evolving format, as well as give a new glimpse of where this most restless and erratic form of the game may be headed.


For a specialised training session in early 2021, Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar, and many more aspiring academy cricketers have the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai reserved. We realise that it wasn’t an isolated incident…

Mr. Dinesh Karthik

I believe I’ve been doing this with Abhishek Nayar in Mumbai for a while now (laughs). However, we’ve travelled across the nation to rehearse. Many people have been gracious enough to provide us with the bowlers, the fields, and other things. Abhishek has a bowlers’ setup—you know, an academy.

I’ve been scheduling open spaces and practising for the past four to five years. I had excellent treatment from DY Patil and did a lot of practising there. Once more, Khar Gymkhana. Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai. I’m sure I’ve missed some.

Abhishek Nayar:

I believe we practise practically everywhere in Mumbai, including the maidans, Bombay Gymkhana, CCI, and the Dadoji Kondadev Stadium in Thane, where we put in a lot of work. We travelled to Talegaon, which is home to another DY Patil Stadium—Pune—between Mumbai and Pune. Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur, Surat, and Dehradun.

I enjoy travelling to various locations to practise on various surfaces with various bowlers in various settings. I just believe it’s more difficult, and I think it has more to do with where he will be competing in the upcoming event. We attempt to play in settings that are comparable to those he would likely encounter, even if they are not exactly the same

.As a result, we travelled to Anand (in central Gujarat), which is quite remote—I mean, not many people actually make it there—but we also went there to rehearse.