Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith recalled the unfond memories of watching Dinesh Karthik winning the match for India, when the Men in Blue played their maiden T20I match against South Africa in 2006. Smith was the captain of the Proteas team in that match.
India was one of the last few teams to embrace the T20I format and played their first game on the 2006 tour of South Africa. Virender Sehwag captained India in that match which also saw Sachin Tendulkar play his one and only T20I match in which he picked one wicket and scored 10 runs.
Dinesh Karthik was the Player of the Match in that encounter, scoring 31 not out of 28 balls which guided India home. former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who was leading his team on the night of December 10 in Johannesburg, said there weren’t any fond memories of the match for him courtesy of Karthik’s knock.
“I mean… Dinesh Karthik scoring runs and winning a game. Those aren’t fond memories,” Karthik said on Cricket.com’s YouTube special ‘Dressing Room Stories’.
We Were Uncertain About How This Format Would Go: Graeme Smith On Popularity Of T20s
The T20 format was invented by England in 2003 and slowly but surely, every team embraced the format with the first international T20I match being played between New Zealand and Australia in 2005.
India played their first T20I in 2006 and less than a year later, the ICC organized the first ever T20 World Cup in 2007 which was hosted by South Africa and saw many records being made and broken. India won the tournament by defeating rivals Pakistan in the final and the tournament also saw the first T20I century being hit, by Chris Gayle.
All of this eventually gave birth to the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and since then T20 leagues have mushroomed everywhere and have become dominant. Smith believes the IPL is what helped T20 cricket gain a global audience and allowed the format to reach the levels of popularity it attracts now.
“We were uncertain about how this format would go. In the beginning, we rested probably a lot of top players. It was a fun outing though. The energy in the crowd, the enjoyment that came with the game, straightaway you recognised that the fans just loved it. I think for all of us who were learning how to play, it was an opportunity to leather up and play without pressure, score as quick as you can. Who would have thought in 2006 that T20 cricket would get to the level it has to right now? In my mind, you couldn’t have predicted that it would take off like it did. The IPL is a big reason for why T20 cricket has got to the level it has. It’s just incredible,” mentioned Smith.