For Dinesh Karthik, confidence and self-belief, both are intertwined, are everything.
Last year before he travelled to the United Kingdom for a commentary stint, Karthik, during a chat, looked forward to the second half of the upcoming IPL in the Middle East, and said a good performance from him could fetch him a place in the Twenty20 World Cup.
Here was a man who had been dropped from the Indian team, was on the wrong side of 30s, yet never stopped trusting himself.
The IPL in the Middle East did not go too well for Karthik, representing KKR, and he failed to make the cut to the Indian team for the World Cup.
Karthik still did not lose hope in his quest for an Indian place. He was experienced, skilful, and was competing with a bunch of exciting young cricketers.
Came the mega auction and Karthik was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Then arrived the remarkable turnaround.
Astonishingly fit for someone who was 36 – he turned 37 twelve days ago – Karthik employed his terrific bat speed, footwork reflexes, finding rare angles on the field to send the ball speeding between the fielders and clearing the ground with ease.
The rejuvenated Karthik was explosive as a Finisher, soaking in the pressure that comes with the role, and delivering whip-lashed boundaries and clubbed sixes for RCB when it counted the most. He was, incredibly, sweeping pacemen for sixes!
His 330 runs – Karthik, on most occasions surfaced only after the 15th over – were scored at a mind-boggling strike rate of 183.33.
The selectors were watching and with no better Finisher in the country, Karthik was drafted back into the Indian team.
The lively, energetic and engaging Karthik has a heart larger than his frame. His comeback into the Indian team is a triumph-of-the-spirit story.
And his 21-ball unbeaten 30 on a tricky Cuttack pitch and against the probing South African attack in the ongoing series was another job well done by the Finisher.
DK, the pocket powerhouse, is still buzzing! Good things do come in small packages!