"I genuinely believe I should be there in the Indian T20I team" - Dinesh Karthik on T20 World Cup selection

Dinesh Karthik in action for India during a T20I against Australia
Dinesh Karthik in action for India during a T20I against Australia
Sai Krishna

If you think about memorable moments involving Dinesh Karthik in international cricket, the 2018 Nidahas Trophy final immediately comes to mind. But the six, which has served as the defining moment of a career that began in September 2004, is just one jewel of many in a studded crown.

Dinesh Karthik took a stunning diving catch to dismiss Graeme Smith in the 2007 T20 World Cup. That same year, he finished a three-match Test series in England as the team's highest run-scorer - 263 runs in six innings at an average of 43.83 - despite opening the batting against a quality bowling attack in difficult conditions.

Even recently, post his Nidahas Trophy heroics, Dinesh Karthik has been exceptional for India in the T20I format. In the eight T20I innings he has played for India since the Bangladesh game, he has remained unbeaten five times.

30 off 13 balls against Australia, 33* off 16 balls against New Zealand - Dinesh Karthik has stepped up whenever called upon. And when the situation has demanded it, the 36-year-old veteran has been a calming presence in the lower-middle order; he scored 31* off 34 balls against West Indies and 22* off 18 against Australia, both in successful run-chases.

Now, Dinesh Karthik has embarked on another quest, this time as a commentator. Having entered the booth in the Tamil Nadu Premier League earlier, the wicket-keeper wants his insights to be heard during India's England tour.

Dinesh Karthik caught up with Sportskeeda in an exclusive chat, during which he discussed his dreams of making a comeback to the Indian cricket team in the immediate future, the rise of Tamil Nadu cricket under his leadership, and various other topics.

Excerpts from Sportskeeda's exclusive interview with Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik last played for India in the 2019 World Cup
Dinesh Karthik last played for India in the 2019 World Cup

Q: DK the batsman is energetic, innovative and calm. What can we expect from DK the commentator?

Dinesh Karthik: I'll be better suited to answer this at the end of the series [smiles]. As cliched as it sounds, I want to try and be myself. Crack a few jokes; try and get into the heads of players because I've played with and against many of these guys. I assume I'll be able to understand what they'll be thinking at certain points of the game, so I'm really looking forward to giving an insight to the viewer in that regard.

Q: With several ICC events coming up, you must have an eye on making a comeback to the Indian team, especially in the T20I format as a finisher. Is it safe to say that the upcoming Sri Lanka series and T20 World Cup are tournaments you're looking forward to being selected for?

Dinesh Karthik: 100%. I think if you go by my stats, in domestic cricket, in the IPL, in T20Is - I'm very confident and I genuinely believe I should be there in the team. The rest is up to the selectors and the think tank to obviously pick the team. I believe I can contribute to this team in the middle order and I'm looking forward to showcasing my skills in the T20 format.

Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik's contributions in the KKR lower-middle order have often gone unnoticed

Q: Batsmen who play the finisher's role for the Indian team like Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja bat slightly up the order in the IPL for MI and CSK respectively. Do you think batting at No. 6 or No. 7 for KKR puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to national selection, even though you've played a number of crucial innings in those positions?

Dinesh Karthik: Yes, they bat according to the overs. If there are 10-12 overs, Hardik and Jadeja walk in. In my case, they send me after the 12th and 14th over, so that I'm there at the back end. Our team has a lot of batsmen who can bat in the initial stages, but we lack batting at the deep end - we're dependent on me and [Andre] Russell. That's what our team's strategy is. So maybe I miss out on the volume of scores, but I believe that the selectors will be in a place to look at T20 cricket.

Dinesh Karthik (contd): Before, there was a lot of confusion while selecting players across formats. But now, there's a lot of streamlining, with Test professionals and shorter-format professionals. The current set of selectors will look at who can play in which position, and they will realize that you can't put up scores of 75-80 while batting lower down. But you can score 20 off 8 balls, and 23 runs off 10 balls. This is what I've focused a lot on.

Dinesh Karthik (contd): It's not the quantity of balls but the amount of impact I create each time I walk in. That's one of the reasons why I'm confident this is something the Indian team will definitely want. I gave a sample size to them the last time I played. I'm very confident that if they pick me, I can showcase my skills and India will have a great chance at the World Cup again.

Dinesh Karthik believes that the IPL is a conduit from domestic to international cricket
Dinesh Karthik believes that the IPL is a conduit from domestic to international cricket

Q: Recently, we've seen a lot of criticism leveled at the selectors and the BCCI for picking players solely based on IPL performances and disregarding domestic showings in the process. Do you think more domestic players who aren't part of the IPL should be called up to the Indian team?

Dinesh Karthik: Not really. I think people who do well in domestic cricket should definitely get a chance in the IPL - I wish and pray for this. The IPL is a slightly higher platform and the closest thing you get to international cricket. When you perform well there, your chances to play for the country should increase. The difference between an IPL match and a T20I match is far less than the difference between the Ranji Trophy and international Test cricket. So I don't see a problem if they don't get picked for the Indian T20I team based on their domestic performances, which should help them knock down the IPL door instead.

Q: Have you outlined goals you want to achieve in the coming months, for Tamil Nadu, KKR and India?

Dinesh Karthik: I'm not a big goal-setting person, but I'll take whatever comes my way. I've been very vocal about what I intend to do in the next couple of World Cups, so I'm just praying that if and when I get picked, I do the best that I can and make the country proud.

Also Read: "Varun Chakravarthy should be a certainty for the T20 World Cup" - Dinesh Karthik heaps praise on 'strong-minded' spinner [Exclusive]

Edited by Atharva Papnoi
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