Dinesh Karthik made his debut before M.S. Dhoni, way back in 2004 but has always been in the shadow of the latter. But on Sunday, eight deliveries put the spotlight on the Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman. On Tuesday, the 32-year old spoke in length about his career, his work with Abhishek Nayyar, and more.
You have been around for 14 years but eight deliveries have changed your life. What were you thinking after the match?
It is probably karma, I guess, for all the good things I have done all through my life and my cricketing career. It probably helped me hit that six. If it had been a four, it would have been a super over and it would have been a different scenario. It just feels good that suddenly after so many years there is lot of attention on me, which is different to what it is when you are playing domestic cricket. But at the same time you want it to be the start of something special and not be something you get too carried away with.
You have been part of the squad but not playing regularly. How hard it is to make every chance you get count?
It is a hard thing. The South African ODI series was so hectic and there wasn’t a lot of time for practice. Whenever you get time, you try and get some batting and be in a place where you feel if you get a chance to play you can do well. It is important to be in that zone to be as practically ready as possible.
Talks us about your association with Abhishek Nayyar?
Abhishek has been the most important factor in the last two years. He has made me do things that I am not comfortable doing. He has helped me prepare for games. He has made me think better in terms of strategy. He has taken me down a path that has helped me improve my cricket. I felt he is one person who worked so hard as a cricketer but did not get everything he desired. He also knows what is the right way to work hard. He was trying to hear me out and then give me directions. He has been the river and I have been the boat. I have just gone along whatever path he has shown me.
After that knock, there will be comparisons with Dhoni in terms of finishing the game. Are you ready to embrace the role of a finisher?
When it comes to Dhoni, I am studying in the university in which he is the topper. So it is unfair for me to be compared with him. I have started my journey. With time lets see how I go. I have always enjoyed playing as a batsman. In the T20 format, I have been asked to play at six or seven. I have finished a few innings batting first and a few chasing. It feels good and it feels like yes I can do it. The most important thing is to keep doing it consistently. That’s what I am focussing on. If I get a role there, I am happy to do it. In ODIs, they are looking at me playing slightly up the order. I am just keeping all my options open and want to develop into a cricketer who can play according to the situation.
How did the Test call-up help?
That was a massive boost. I think the fact that they showed interest in me made me so happy. My dream is to play Test cricket. With Wriddhiman Saha doing well, I am just happy to be back in the fold of things.