‘Have improved as a batsman’
Dinesh Karthik has been out of the Indian side for about two years now, but the wicketkeeper batsman is not losing sleep over it.
"See getting a place in the team is not up to me, so instead I do what I can and that is keeping up the hard work. But I am happy with the way my career has shaped up. I have had my fair share of ups and downs and that is a part and parcel of a sportsman and I have no regrets," Karthik said on the sidelines of a P&G Shiksha event where he was accompanied by wife Dipika Pallikal.
Karthik, who is currently representing Abahani Limited in the Dhaka Premier Division League, says that he is enjoying the experience. "I have played a match against Mohammedan Sporting and I was happy that the team won and I scored a century (109). I will be leaving on Friday to join the team again. I really enjoyed the match and I can't wait to go back again," he said.
After MS Dhoni, it's Naman Ojha and Wriddhiman Saha who are ahead in the race while KL Rahul, too, had a good IPL as a keeper-batsman for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
It can become a steep road ahead for Karthik, but for now he is looking to improve his game. "I am not thinking too far ahead. I am keeping myself fit and playing as much as I can. It is more important to work on my skills and keep getting better. From the last IPL to this IPL, I can say that I have improved as a batsman," he said.
Karthik played the IPL for Gujarat Lions this season and he said that it was initially difficult to gel as a unit. "It was difficult for us in the beginning because we were an absolutely new franchise. It is tough because we were a bunch of boys who had never played together before. It was not easy but we bonded really fast and well. I think credit for that must go to coach Brad Hodge who saw to it that the team blends in well. The camaraderie off the field showed in the results too," he said, referring to the last-four finish.
It was the brilliance of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers that stalled Gujarat Lions' progress in the IPL, and the keeper acknowledges that the Indian Test captain is playing a simply different level. "When you speak about Virat, nothing is enough. I am really blown away by the way he is growing as a cricketer and a human being."
Karthik feels Kohli has set the benchmark very high for the others in the team. "He has set the bar really high for the other cricketers. It will be right to say that he is in a different league and to be able to perform so consistently over a long period proves his class. It has been a pleasure to see him rise and rise above the rest," Karthik said.