Appointed TN captain for Vijay Hazare Trophy, Karthik seeks collective effort

Dinesh Karthik has been named as Tamil Nadu's captain for the forthcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy, which the team won in 2017 under Vijay Shankar's captaincy.

Dinesh Karthik was part of the Tamil Nadu team that won the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2017.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

Dinesh Karthik's passion for state cricket is not unknown. There is a burning desire within the cricketer to make a winning difference to his side.

He is the kind of bloke who, after a late night finish of an India game, would catch an early flight the next day and be available for his state side if needed. That is the level of his commitment.

After appointing Karthik the captain of the Tamil Nadu team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season, chairman of selectors M. Senthilnathan told Sportstar, “Dinesh has the ability to get the best out of the youngsters. He is a wonderful motivator. In fact, Dinesh is a great bridge between the seniors and the younger bunch.”

Senthilnathan’s words are not surprising. There is an undeniable vibrancy around the Tamil Nadu team when Karthik is around. The focus though, remains the team and its objectives, something one sees in Karthik's response to his appointment.

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The 34-year-old wicket-keeper batsman said, "We need to look at our feeder system. The cricketers are just not coming through from the under-19 level who can put pressure on the seniors.”

“In the past four years, Washington Sundar is the only cricketer to emerge along with Vijay Shankar who is older. Presently there is none from Tamil Nadu in the India under-19 team despite a good first division league,” he explained.

The last time Tamil Nadu won the Vijay Harare and Deodhar Trophies, in 2016-17, the tournaments were won almost single-handedly by Karthik’s batting brilliance. 

Now, as skipper, he seeks a collective effort. “We need to be good in the middle overs, both with bat and ball. We need to run hard, collect singles and twos. And we have to pick wickets during the middle phase,” he added, also underlining the fact that Tamil Nadu batsmen needed to improve mentally to tide over difficult situations.

The side can breathe easy when considering the bowling options that stand before it.

“We have T. Natarajan and K. Vignesh, but I want them fit. I am excited about G. Periaswamy,” Karthik said about his pace options. The spinners are not to left behind and while he spoke of the need for more wrist spinners, he also expressed satisfaction with the bench strength in that department.

“We have R. Ashwin and Washington Sundar as off-spinners, we have some good left-armers and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy will walk into the side once he is fit. We still need a couple of good wrist spinners. I hope Murugan Ashwin comes good," he said.

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