Chennai: For a cricketer with enormous potential and proven track record in domestic cricket, Dinesh Karthik hasn’t really fulfilled his talent at international level. Karthik who showed positive signs in the recent West Indies tour has vowed to make most of the opportunity on his comeback trail.
The 32-year-old said his goal was to make it to the 2019 World Cup squad. "I’m giving it my best shot. Also, I want to play all three formats as an exclusive batsman. I’m looking for another opportunity in Tests, either as a batsman or a wicketkeeper-batsman. I’m working hard to achieve these objectives. Coming back to the Test team, wearing whites and playing under Kohli is a dream for me. With the kind of shots I have in the middle-order I think I can make an impact. More importantly, I have to make use of the opportunity given to me in the limited-overs format," he said.
Now that you are back in the Indian team as exclusive batsman, would you consider giving up wicket-keeping to concentrate more on batting?
It is obvious that Dhoni is going to be the wicketkeeper whenever he is around. I have always enjoyed fielding and rated myself as a good fielder. I have been working with R. Sridhar, India’s fielding coach. I would like to call myself an all-rounder — a genuine keeper and a genuine batsman. And, I can do well in fielding at any position. A lot of people do part-time keeping so that there are more options in the XI. Generally in IPL, teams are willing to accept these part-timers because they can be flexible with the XI. Keeping is something that I have been doing for 20 years. Even when I play as a batsman, every morning the first drill I undergo is wicket-keeping, which is something ingrained in me. So I’m no way going to give it up to concentrate on one thing.
Your brilliant domestic season helped you make a comeback. What was the reason for your success?
A lot of factors. The kind of work I put in with Abhishek Nayar (Mumbai all-rounder) over a period of time helped me prepare well for the domestic season. Stroke making is my biggest strength and if I stop that I don’t think I can express myself freely. And when you are a stroke-maker you are bound to get out playing shots. Now, I feel I am playing my shots with more responsibility.
You are 32 now. Do you feel the pressure to make use of every opportunity?
It applies to every player, not just for those who cross 30. When it comes to fitness, the one thing I have realised is I don’t want any youngster tell that I am fitter than Dinesh. I always want to be the fittest player in the team. When I can do stuff that everyone does, age doesn’t matter. Age becomes a factor only when you become a liability on the field. VVS once said when you reach a certain stage ‘it’s not about how many runs you score, it’s about what you have done to win the match’. So, it’s not about what I can do individually, it’s about what I am giving the team for a bigger cause. I have started looking at that way, it’s helping me as a batsman.
Do conversations with Kohli help you improve your batting?
He is someone who is very open to share his experience. He is open about what he has done with his batting. He is very honest about it. So we do have a chat on this. Even four years back, during the Asia Cup, he told me how he prepares before every match and how he visualises every situation.
CSK are back in the IPL. Would you like to represent you home city?
I think it will be a massive challenge for CSK. It’s not going to be easy to build a team from scratch. And, the player retention rules are not out regarding next season’s auction.