Karthik: 'Experience matters most in Tests'

Karthik retorts Stanikzai's claim that Afghanistan has better spinners than India, but believes that the young team can emulate the success it had in the shorter format of the game, with experience.

Dinesh Karthik has returned to the Indian Test side after eight years, replacing the injured Wriddhiman Saha.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

It was just the other day that Afghanistan captain, Asghar Stanikzai, claimed that his team's spinners were better than India’s. While the statement created quite a stir in the cricketing fraternity, India’s stumper-batsman, Dinesh Karthik, has shot back saying that the host team has a lot of experience—something that matters the most in Test cricket.

“I don’t know what that person (Stanikzai) had said, but you have got to understand that we have got a lot of experience, not only in Test match cricket but also (in a) lot of domestic cricket, four day cricket,” Karthik said on Tuesday.

“All their spinners put together wouldn’t have played that many matches that Kuldeep Yadav would have played in four-day cricket. Experience at the end of the day has a lot of value, as you saw with CSK in the IPL,” Karthik said.

However, the 33-year-old also feels that the Afghans may well emulate the success it achieved in the shorter version of the game. “I am very sure that they would be better bowlers by the start of the next Test match than what they are now. The kind of improvement they have shown in white ball cricket has been phenomenal. There is no reason why they can’t do it in red-ball cricket. But I would say our spinners have a lot of experience and I would say experience can’t be easily bought,” Karthik said, adding: “I am sure their players will also vouch for that. I understand the statement he has made but I would not harp too much on that.”

When Karthik played his last Test, in 2010, not many thought Afghanistan would seal a berth in Test cricket. But as it prepares for its dream debut on Thursday, Karthik is fascinated by the visitor’s ‘beautiful journey’.

“It’s been a highlight for the ICC to have a Test nation in Afghanistan. Not many people knew Afghanistan play cricket but for them to come along so well, qualify for the World Cup and qualify for upcoming World Cup deserves a lot of credit.

“Everybody knew what a tough place it is, and the turmoil it faces, but they are able to inspire people with their performances. They are playing big tournaments like IPL and their key players are producing big performances. Many countries can take this route and take the challenge and do as well as they can. It will be a fabulous story in the history of their country and any country,” Karthik said.

Indirectly drawing reference to Rashid Khan’s success in the IPL, Karthik said: “In just two years they have got a few household names and it’s only going to get better. I only hope that they do have the opportunity to play a lot of Test cricket like they do in T20s, where they not only have the ability to compete but also win a tournament. You have to give them credit. With all the infrastructure that they have got, they are trying to beat all the odds.”