It could well be Dinesh Karthik’s last international comeback, but he is intending to build on the recent benefits in international cricket by following the timely advice of India coach Ravi Shastri.
With young glovemen like Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant knocking on the selectors’ door, Karthik knows the importance of each and every innings, albeit only as a specialist batsman with MS Dhoni still the number one choice wicket-keeper in limited overs cricket.
Talking about his current form, Karthik said, “Maybe it is (the last of comebacks) but I have not looked at it that way. If you start thinking on those lines (future in the team), you put extra pressure on yourself. I am satisfied with the way I batted in ODI series against New Zealand and would aim to do the same whenever I get the next opportunity.”
Karthik has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket from past 2 years or so and as a result of that, he was brought back into the ODI squad for the New Zealand series after he scored two centuries in the Duleep Trophy.
For him, the best part of the New Zealand series was that he got to play all three games. He said, “I don’t know if it was my best ODI innings but it surely was an important one, personally as well as for the team.”
Karthik doesn’t know what lies ahead but remains focused on improving his game with key inputs from coach Shastri, he said, “In terms of feelers (for the future) from the team management, nothing has been communicated. But regarding my batting, I did have a long chat with Ravi bhai (Shastri). He was happy with my batting against New Zealand but he said there are still areas where I can improve upon, especially maintaining the tempo of the innings since he feels I have all the shots. I agree with him and that is what I would look to do.”
Talking about Indian skipper Virat Kohli, the Chennai-based cricketer said that the results of the fitness culture Virat has cultivated are for all to see and even on that aspect, he leads from the front. He said, “With a leader like Virat, who has absolutely got it spot one in terms of fitness, he has built his lifestyle around it. The team members are learning a lot from that and they can see the exceptional performances he has been able to give in the last 5-6 years. It has trickled down to the players.”
However, Kartik doesn’t understand the hype around the Yo-Yo test which has to be cleared to play for the country. He said, “The current benchmark is pretty achievable. Anybody who puts in a bit of effort can reach that mark. There is nothing earth-shattering about it. It only starts getting tougher from 17.5 onwards. There has been a lot of hue and cry about it but it is pretty achievable for most sportsmen.”