MS Dhoni is known to be a great finisher, having scripted many thrilling last-over wins for India and the Chennai Super Kings.
But there is another finisher who is from the city: Dinesh Karthik . He currently plays for Kolkata in the IPL, but his thrilling last-ball six for India against Bangladesh in 2018’s Nidahas Trophy remains an unforgettable moment in Indian cricket and for fans.
The Chennai-based cricketer has captured that event in the form of India’s first sports NFT (non-fungible token). Titled Six for the Win, the digital art NFT features an animated clip with Dinesh’s voice-over and is available for public auction.
“In India, cricket is a religion and there are various memorable cricketing moments, like the 1983 World Cup Win, 2011 World Cup win, Sachin’s 100th hundred or the first IPL match. The world of cricket should dabble in the NFT space, which will grow in future,” says Dinesh, in a virtual conversation from the UAE.
Karthik first heard of NFTs earlier this year when he read that Elon Musk’s partner (Grimes) made a lot of money by selling digital artwork. “I was intrigued,” he says, “The more I read up, the more I was convinced that it was a unique and out-of-the-box idea.”
What ensued was a conversation with his brother-in-law and squash player Saurav Ghoshal – something that resulted in the Six for the Win NFT being conceptualised. “Everyone knows that I hit a last-ball six for India, but no one knows the emotion around that particular moment. There was a lot of drama around that match, with the Bangladesh players indulging in the Nagin dance (a celebratory dance step). I wanted every Indian cricket fan to relive that moment through this,” he explains.
Dinesh – or DK, as he is popularly called – is currently a key player for the Kolkata franchise in the IPL, but just a few months ago, he was in England in a new avatar: as a commentator. His knowledge of the game, combined with his sense of humour and fashion (Karthik was described as the ‘Giorgio Armani of broadcasting’) made him a hot favourite among the UK’s cricket community.
So, how is it playing the game barely a few weeks after talking about it? “In basketball or football, it is very normal to see a player on the field one day, and in the studio the very next. It’s only in cricket that we are used to seeing retired players talk about it. I took up commentary to break this stereotype,” says Dinesh, adding that he enjoyed his time in England while soaking up all the cricketing action.
Since last year, the cricketer has been in various bio-bubbles, considering the pandemic. “Bubble life takes a massive toll on you,” he admits, “It is very hard if you are in a confined area for a long time, added to it, the pressures of the sport. Players are doing their best, but I think the world of cricket needs to have a strong look at bubble life and into the mental and physical aspects. Otherwise, you will see cricketers dropping like flies….”
He is ensuring he doesn’t though, by indulging in a lot of OTT platforms to keep himself occupied when he is not playing or training. “My recent favourite is Squid Games ,” he beams, “As I am fluent with languages, I watch films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and English. I tend to mix genres and watch; if I am watching a murder mystery, I choose a comedy next.”