Out of favour from the selectors, experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik feels it is the failures at the 2019 World Cup that led to his ouster from India’s T20I squad, making a comeback to which is now his passionate desire.
Not originally part of the Indian squad, Karthik suddenly found himself batting in the middle order at the quadrennial event in the UK couple of years back. And as he managed just 14 runs from his three innings, including the semi-final loss to New Zealand, the selectors choose not to retain the 36-year-old.
They decided to drop him from even the T20Is where many still feel Dinesh Karthik could bring a lot of value as an end-overs specialist. At his best, Karthik has proven to be an incredible power-hitter with an expanded range against pacers and spinners alike in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Dinesh Karthik also boasts of an impressive record in the T20Is, where he has a strike-rate of 143.53 and an average of 33.25 after 32 innings, including his unforgettable effort in the final of the 2018 Nidahas Trophy against Bangladesh in Colombo.
Dinesh Karthik explains why he is no longer in India’s T20I side
Despite his offerings, however, the selectors have been looking past Karthik in the last couple of seasons. But the Tamil Nadu stalwart hasn’t lost hope and believes he can still force his way back ahead of the T20 World Cups coming up.
“What they want to see is not the age but how fit you are. If you can get through the fitness tests, it means you are ready to play for the country. My aim is to play for the country in the T20 World Cups,” Dinesh Karthik told CricketNext. “There are back-to-back T20 World Cups, this year and the next year, and I am doing everything I can to be a part of that.”
Dinesh Karthik wouldn’t shy away from admitting that his performances in Tests and ODIs weren’t up to the mark. Neither is he claiming a place back in the two longer versions of the game at this stage. But a mixing up of the formats and his premature departure from the T20Is is certainly a cause of deep anguish and a source of inspiration for the man.
“I know I have done really well in the past and even when I got dropped from the team after the World Cup, I thought I had done phenomenally well for India in T20s up till then, but because the World Cup did not go well, I got chucked out of the T20 as well,” Karthik added.
“But given an opportunity, especially in the middle order, I know India definitely needs a finisher there. I know we have Hardik (Pandya) and (Ravindra) Jadeja there. That’s something that I have kept my focus on, to be a pure middle-order batsman. I feel that is a specialised slot, the ability to win games and set up good totals to help the team win. That’s something that I have focussed on and I have done well over a period of time and am backing myself to do it over and over again.”