Dinesh Karthik: Playing in different conditions valuable for World Cup prep

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According to batter Dinesh Karthik, the various challenges posed by the conditions in the Caribbean will help prepare India to face various situations at the T20 World Cup in Australia. After playing the first three T20Is in the West Indies, the teams have moved to Florida’s Lauderhill this weekend for the final two games of the series.
Karthik was one of those who rose above the two-speed field at Tarouba for the first T20I, using the asymmetric ground size to his advantage. In the second and third game in St Kitts, India had to deal with a strong crosswind. After struggling to adjust in the second T20I, India fared much better in the third to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

“I think it’s very interesting because even in the World Cup right away the three reasons that come to mind are Sydney – [where] the sides are slightly smaller and the straights are longer – Adelaide we all know the sides are very small and again the straights are long while in Melbourne it is the exact opposite – the straights are short and the sides are very big. So it’s clear that we’re going to face different terrains wherever we’re going to play, so the challenges will be different.

“Here, the challenges have been different in every location we’ve played in. So the fact that every time you get a chance, there’s a certain challenge that comes with just walking in. That’s busy in itself. One of the most important things that Rohit [Sharma] and Rahul [Dravid] What was talked about in this series at the beginning was the adaptability and understanding of the situations. I think that’s something we’ve done pretty well so far.”

Twelve Indian players have all but sealed their places for the T20 World Cup, including Karthik, leaving seven or eight contenders vying for the remaining three slots. Given India’s rich talent pool, Karthik said it would be difficult for the selectors to reach the last 15.

“Look, right now in the Indian team we have the potential to put out two teams, or maybe even three teams, in terms of the number of players available,” he said. “I don’t think many countries can boast of that, so to get just 15 players out of quite a few 40 players, there will be 20-25 players who will be like, ‘Gosh! That team’.

“Business is a privilege right now as a cricketer [and] as an athlete. It is something that is given [you] only if you play at the highest level and if people expect certain things from you.”

Karthik on embracing pressure

Lately, Karthik has excelled in his role as a finisher, winning games for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore and for India – both at home and away. Since the start of IPL 2022, he has a strike rate of 205.55 in the death overs (17-20). Only James Neesham (227.65) and Tim David (226.72) have a better strike rate during this period than Karthik in all T20’s. The finisher role comes with pressure, and Karthik has learned to embrace it.

“Business is a privilege right now as a cricketer [and] as an athlete,” Karthik said. “It is something that is given to [you] only if you play at the highest level and if people expect certain things from you. So I’m happy; I think it’s important to know for sure what the match situation is on any given day, read the match and give your best on that day.”

Karthik once again commended India’s team management for nurturing an environment that gave players security and the opportunity to grow in their roles despite failures.

“This is one of the happiest to have been part of the Indian team… the amount of love and affection I have received, not only from the team and the fans, but also the support from the captain and coach.

“This is what I have strived for all my life and for the captain and coach to show such confidence in me, it is only fair that I repay the trust by giving performances that will help the team cross the line in many ways. and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

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