Dinesh Karthik wants to return to Team India and play the role of finisher in T20Is;

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Dinesh Karthik wants to return to Team India and play the role of finisher in T20Is;

India wicket-keeper batter Dinesh Karthik still desires to play for his country and believes he can still contribute as a finisher, particularly in the shorter formats of the game.

In an interview with ANI, Karthik opened up on his dream of playing for the national side once again, what he learnt from his commentary stint during the COVID-19 pandemic and how pleasing it is to see the growth of Tamil Nadu as a cricketing force.

“It is about playing the sport, I genuinely harbour the ambition of playing for the country again and I want to do everything possible, that is my ultimate goal. I train and practice, everything I do right now is working towards that goal. The next three years for me is about playing the sport and doing everything I can. I enjoy playing the sport,” Karthik told ANI.

“That is why I go and play Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Vijay Hazare for Tamil Nadu. The kind of success we have had as a state team has been phenomenal and me being a part of that journey is something I have thoroughly enjoyed. My main aim is to play for the country again, especially the T20 format. T20 is something, the fire is still burning very brightly,” added the wicketkeeper-batter who has played 32 T20Is for India who is fondly remembered for his 29-run knock of just eight balls in the Nidahas Trophy 2018 final against Bangladesh.

Further talking about his ambition to play T20Is for India, the 36-year-old said:

“Even the last T20 World Cup, one of the main areas is a finisher and that is a role I am looking at very keenly. Over the period of time, the stats and performances show that I have done a decent job in the limited time I have spent in Indian colours and the franchises I have played for.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Karthik performed as a commentator in the United Kingdom, and the wicketkeeper-batter developed a sizable fan base as a result of his eloquent interpretation of the game.

“Obviously, I have enjoyed the commentary stint, but this is something I want to pursue in a serious fashion when I hang up my boots which I am planning to not do very soon. I think for me, playing the sport is of utmost importance and I want to do that for a bare minimum of three years. Post that, I will decide on taking it up seriously but for the moment, I am happy that people have liked me doing commentary.”

“Obviously, it gives me an option to think about later and it is hard for me to pinpoint why I was liked. At the end of the day, the more people appreciate what you say, it helps you and it gives me good insight into my reading of the game and the way I look at things. I am happy it is showing on my cricket as well,” he added.

When asked how he sees the growth of Tamil Nadu as a powerhouse in domestic cricket on the back of successive Syed Mushtaq Ali title wins, Karthik said:

“I think obviously one of the greatest pleasures for me is to see all these boys go on to represent the country. They all have two ambitions — either they want to be a part of the IPL franchise and the next step would be to play for the country. That comes with good performances, Tamil Nadu as a domestic side has done so well. Last year, 14 of the players were part of IPL teams and I was so happy to see those things happening.”

“Shahrukh Khan (all-rounder) is knocking on the doors, he is very close and he is within touching distance. I have no doubt that when he gets the opportunity, he will do very well for Team India,” added the wicketkeeper-batter who made his debut for India way back in September 2004.

Talking about the fans’ passion for the game in India, Karthik said:

“I think it works both ways, because India has been playing such good cricket for a long period of time. As a cricketing nation, we are more used to victories as compared to losses. So when losses come our way, it is hard for us to react to it. That is the beauty of the sport, players are aware that one day you are a hero, and the next day you are zero if you do not do well. Players are adapting to this, it is hard for players these days with the advent of social media.”

(With ANI Inputs)

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