Dinesh Karthik: 'Wearing the whites for India under Virat would be something'

The feisty cricketer is back from the West Indies, where knocks of 50 not out and 48 in the final ODI and the one-off Twenty20 game meant his comeback to the Indian team had many positives.

Karthik: 'Stroke-making is my strength. If I stop playing the shots, I will not be the cricketer I am'.   -  AP

His eyes flicked across the ground, picking out little things. The sight of the iconic arena at Chepauk also forces Dinesh Karthik to flash a rather infectious smile.

“You know, I was a ball boy here when India defeated Australia in a thrilling Test in 2001. Sachin Tendulkar, my idol, scored a hundred against Steve Waugh’s men. Cannot forget those moments,” Karthik said here on Wednesday.

Karthik’s association with the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium runs deep. “When I was a schoolboy, we used to have matches here at MAC-B. A person called Munuswamy used to sell groundnuts. Wonder what happened to him, I don’t see him around these days.”

When he is here, memories keep gushing back. In the field of dreams he has taken flight and the former ball boy has gone on to play for the country and share the dressing room with Tendulkar.

But then the past, despite some highs, has been a rather bumpy ride for a man with immense natural ability. Karthik has an eye on the future though.

The feisty cricketer is back from the West Indies, where knocks of 50 not out and 48 in the final ODI and the one-off Twenty20 game meant his comeback to the Indian team had many positives. “Happiness is a small term, relief is more,” he said about his return to the national side.

Talking about his match-winning unbeaten 122-run partnership with skipper Virat Kohli at Kingston, he noted, “Virat is a positive, vibrant person who gives ideas, runs brilliantly between wickets.”

In a chat with Sportstar, India chief selector M.S.K. Prasad had said that Karthik was picked as a pure batsman this time around.

Karthik agreed. “I knew that M.S.D. was the wicket-keeper batsman in the side. I was there as a batsman. But then I am a genuine batsman and a genuine ’keeper. And I have batted at different slots.”

Although not big-built, he is a natural athlete. Karthik noted, “I am comfortable fielding at any position, have a good throw. Virat has confidence in my fielding.”

Not surprisingly, he wants to return to the Test team at some point. “Wearing the whites for India under Virat would be something!”

READ: Dinesh Karthik prefers home over away format in the Ranji Trophy

He has worked on his temperament with Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar. “Stroke-making is my strength. If I stop playing the shots, I will not be the cricketer I am. But I have to play the right shot at the right time.”

Karthik is no spring chicken at 32 but takes immense pride in his fitness and is looking forward to the 2019 ICC World Cup. “I don’t want a younger guy to come to the side and say I am fitter than Dinesh Karthik.”

In his wish list is a desire to represent Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. “This is where I have learnt and played much of my cricket. There is this passion within you to represent the franchise of your city.”

As Karthik continues his journey, he recalls a nugget from V.V.S. Laxman. “It is not the number of runs but the manner in which you win the game for your side that matters.”

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