TIRUNELVELI: 361 runs from 14 matches in the IPL. Leading run scorer for Tamil Nadu with 607 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with knocks of 88, 81, 77 and 112 against Bengal in the final. 247 runs in three matches to help his state clinch their second domestic trophy, the Deodhar Trophy.
On the back of his good domestic showings, Dinesh Karthik was picked as the replacement for Manish Pandey in the Champions Trophy squad which reached the finals. Though he didn’t get a game, he scored 94 off 77 balls in a warm-up match against Bangladesh. The story hasn’t ended. He then proved his worth in the team with knocks of 48 and an unbeaten 50 in the three-match ODI series against West Indies.
The wicketkeeper batsman who is in the form of his life hopes to find a place in the ODI squad for the ongoing Sri Lanka tour. It has become a common sight for people to see him in and out of the Indian side. But according to the 32-year-old, it’s a part of his journey. “Our India team is very strong, and competitive with many players in good form. It’s a testimony to how good the domestic system is. With IPL in, youngsters are getting lot of exposure. It’s a big challenge to be a part of Indian side.
“But it’s a part of the cricketing journey to be in and out of the side. One key thing to know about being in the side is, you need to be right up there with performance and fitness.”
Having a good knock with the bat in the recent West Indies tour, Karthik feels it was a good start. “I got opportunity in both matches. But as I said, it’s only a start. If I get a chance to play again, I need to make the most of it and do my best. Wanting to play for the country is what keeps me motivated during my domestic tournaments and I am trying to constantly achieve that.”
Karthik believes that his three matches with Tuti Patriots in the second edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League will help him to showcase his batting in the middle-order before the ODI squad is picked for the Sri Lanka series.
Keeping aside his thoughts of selection, the wicketkeeper-batsman says he is playing TNPL to mentor young boys. “I personally feel this tournament helps Tamil Nadu to do well in white ball cricket. I want to help these young players with whatever I can and I hope that helps them to excel at higher level.”
The Chennai-born Karthik, who never got to be in Chennai Super Kings contingent, dreams of playing for them in the next IPL, which was evident from the smile that came even before the question was completed.
“It’s good to see CSK back. It’s a dream to play for Chennai. But it depends on the teams’ combination and coaches of various teams sitting down to pick players. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for the auctions.”
Interesting thing about TNPL
Asked about what he finds interesting, he replied, “In terms of chasing targets, teams have been pretty good. Even in the first match when we posted 180 plus, the opposition was in command with two overs to spare. Every team has a big hitter in the middle-order, which makes all the difference. With the team performing good (three wins in three), it’s more pressure for me.”
Brief score: Tuti Patriots 178/4 in 20 ovs (W Sundar 107; R Alexander 2/22) bt Chepauk Super Gillies 151/8 in 20 ovs (A Das 43; A Davidson 2/29, A Srinivas 2/30).