Dinesh Karthik adds value to the TN side

Karthik is fired by this dream of Tamil Nadu winning the Ranji Trophy. "We want to do it at least once in our career," he says.

After five Ranji games, Dinesh Karthik is the leading scorer for Tamil Nadu with 440 runs at 62.87.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Dinesh Karthik remembers the moment. A sense of despondency loomed in the Tamil Nadu camp in Bilaspur.

After its disappointing batting in the season opener in Lahli against Mumbai — the team was shot out for 87 and 185 — Tamil Nadu had been dismissed for 121 on day one by Railways in Bilaspur.

Then, coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar spoke to the team. “He was angry. The pitch in Bilaspur was easier than the one in Lahli. He said we did not show the required attitude and character,” revealed Karthik in a frank chat with Sportstar on Friday. He added, “The coach was right. We had let ourselves down.”

That was the turning point for Tamil Nadu. Remarkably, the side roared back into the contest and Karthik made a responsible 163 in the second innings. Tamil Nadu, eventually, romped home by 174 runs. The campaign was back on track.

And Karthik, after five Ranji games, is the leading scorer for Tamil Nadu with 440 runs at 62.87.

The season has not been short of drama though. In fact, Karthik came under fire for a paddle sweep that led to his early dismissal in Lahli.

Kanitkar had a chat with Karthik later. “He told me it was the wrong choice of shot to that particular delivery. I realised he had a point. There were a lot of other options, like going over the top. The coach is not against attacking batting, he only emphasised on the right shots,” said Karthik.

In fact, Kanitkar had told Sportstar earlier. “The kind of form Karthik is in, he should be scoring more runs.”

Karthik explained, “He (Kanitkar) must have said it because in the game against Uttar Pradesh, I was well set but got out soon after the drinks break to a ‘kindergarten shot.’ Kanitkar always says a batsman should refocus after every break and I did not do that.”

Kanitkar, though, realised Karthik’s value to the side. “The pace at which Karthik scores, he sets up winning opportunities for us,” he said.

Indeed, Karthik’s strike rate this season so far has been a commendable 71.42. He does put opposition on the back-foot.

Apart from his match-winning 163 against Railways, the 31-year-old Karthik made 73 (Uttar Pradesh), 95 (Madhya Pradesh) and 65 (Baroda). “The innings against M.P. in Cuttack was my best. Tamil Nadu was 54 for three and the ball was seaming a lot.”

Karthik surfaces at No. 5, and, on occasions has had to bat with the tail; his commitment has shone through.

A finger injury he suffered in the first match has, however, prevented him from 'keeping wickets.

Karthik is fired by this dream of Tamil Nadu winning the Ranji Trophy. “We want to do it at least once in our career,” he said.