After being snubbed for the Sri Lanka tour, Dinesh Karthik has admitted that his ambitions are to be part of the Indian team for the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 ODI World Cup. Karthik also stated that there is a realistic chance of him getting into the team, in the middle order, at Nos 5, 6 or 7.
At the age of 36, Dinesh Karthik has continued to showcase to the world his performances, as a specialist finisher in the shortest format, for Kolkata Knight Riders and Tamil Nadu. After stepping down from the captaincy last year, Karthik has batted himself down the order, specifically to take up a new role, towards the end of the innings.
While his new role not only gives him less time to work around, it is one of the most sought after positions in world cricket, with several teams struggling for finishers. But Karthik has been rather effective, with 162 runs, at a strike rate of 144.6, batting lower down the order since the 2020 IPL. His ambition, however, remains to be part of the two World Cups that are on the horizon - the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 ODI World Cup.
“It is just beautiful to have been part of the journey. Right now my ambition is to be part of the next two World Cups [2021 T20 World Cup and 2023 ODI World Cup] and try and help India win at least one, if not both. That's the ultimate goal for me and I am doing everything I possibly can to be part of that team,” Karthik told ESPNCricinfo.
“I believe there is a middle-order slot right now, at Nos. 5, 6, 7. And I can slot into any of the three. For the top four slots, there are way too many players who have done phenomenally well and who keep batting in [IPL] franchises at that position,” he added.
In the shortest format, for India, since 2018, the wicketkeeper-batsman has scored 226 runs, at a strike-rate of 161.4, with just 30.7% dot-balls, batting at No.6 and 7, showcasing his effectiveness as a finisher. He insists that his ability alongside experience will help him tip a place in the Indian setup.
“My specialty is that I can bat at five, six, seven and help India in setting up the best score possible or in winning games, which I did in the short while before the 2019 World Cup in the T20 format. The fact that I have played 150 games for my country is the experience I will look back on every time I play.”
“You don't want to go to a World Cup with people who have batted in the top four consistently and throw them in at five, six, seven and expect them to do well. You definitely expect a Hardik or a Jadeja to do well. Who else is there who bats at those numbers for their franchises?” he added.
However, it was a ‘calculated’ gamble for the Tamil Nadu man to move from the top-order to the middle-order, where he wouldn’t get respite to face many deliveries.
“It was a calculated gamble. I have always been a top-order batter. All my career I batted at three and four for my state. When I played for the country, I batted at [those] positions and even opened at times. So when you move to the middle order you have to change certain aspects: you start focusing more on your ability to hit boundaries, your ability to think on your feet,” he concluded.