October 5, 2011, the fans at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore were praying to God as their team found themselves in a rather tough situation with six runs needed off the last ball for a memorable win against South Australian Redbacks.
Aussie all-rounder Dan Christian had the ball in his hands and the batsman on strike? KB Arun Karthik, who was relatively unknown till that point. Karthik was expecting a slower delivery from Christian and much to his delight, the Aussie all-rounder exactly bowled a slower one right in his slot and the batsman had no hesitation in hoicking it over the mid-wicket fence.
Suddenly, he became a cult hero among the RCB fans and he would have expected that his career might have taken off the moment he hit the six to win the game for his team. Unfortunately, that was the last tournament he played for the franchise as he was released ahead of the 2012 IPL auction and failed to find a home in the IPL since then.
This season, he has a chance of getting picked, thanks to his heroics in the 2018 Tamil Nadu Premier League in which he guided Siechem Madurai Panthers' batting unit and took them to glory.
He scored 472 runs in 10 innings at an excellent average of 78.66 and a strike rate of 153.74. Adding to this, he kept wickets, something that he has done in the past, and has done all he could ahead of the 2019 IPL auction. With his base price set at ₹20 lakhs as a wicketkeeper-batsman, he will be expecting that he makes the cut in the upcoming auction which will be held on December 18.
Sportskeeda caught up with the Kerala batsman and discussed various things on his chances in the IPL auction. Here are the excerpts.
Q: You had a good 2018 Tamil Nadu Premier League and now, you are doing well for Kerala. With the IPL auction coming up, do you have any hopes of getting picked?
There are a few things that you cannot control as a cricketer and IPL auction is one such thing. I can control a few things, playing well, playing for the team, etc. and I am doing that at the moment. My performances speak for myself. If the teams need me, I am ready and confident of having an impactful season.
Q: You have been mentioned as a wicketkeeper-batsman in the IPL auction. How does being a two-dimensional player help in getting picked by the franchises?
70% I belong to the batsman's category. But, I have kept wickets when I played in the IPL and even for my state associations in the longer and shorter formats of the game.
Keeping is an extra dimension I have in my game. In T20s, you have to be prepared for any situation and you have to bring something to the team. Multi-dimensional players are always useful in the T20 format. I have worked a lot on my keeping, which is an added dimension to the game. I have also improved my fitness levels so that I can be a multi-dimensional player.
Q: Did you work on your power hitting?
Basically, I am an opener. When I was playing in the IPL, I mostly batted at number 6 or 7 and hardly got 5-6 balls whenever I went out. I was not prepared then. Now that I am experienced, I am aware of it and I have prepared myself for those situations where you will get lesser balls to face.
You need a different skill set for it. As an opener, you can make use of the field restriction overs and as a middle-order batsman, you need to assess the situation before you play your game. Over the last two years, I have worked on these things.
Take the example of someone like Dinesh Karthik. He was always a top-order batsman and now, he has adapted to his role and has learnt to finish games. I was a natural stroke-maker and have worked on batting at different positions.
Q: Since you are out of your comfort zone and playing for teams as an outstation player, pressure has always been on you to perform well. How have you managed to play under such pressure? Do you think it will help you in getting picked in the IPL?
Ever since I left Tamil Nadu, pressure has become my daily routine. As a professional, there is always some pressure on you to do well. I see pressure as a challenge. I see it as an opportunity. I look forward to these situations right now. It is like an adrenaline now. If we do well under pressure, it makes us feel good.Published 13 Dec 2018, 13:25 IST