The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Karthik confident of retaining Test berth
- I am aware of expectations: Dhoni

Chennai: They are living in hope as the race to don the big gloves hots up. Mahendra Singh Dhoni says getting selected to the Test side will be his “biggest moment”, while Dinesh Karthik is confident of retaining his place.

“Test matches and one-day Internationals are not the same thing. The selectors have seen me perform in tough situations. Keeping against the likes of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh on fifth day wickets in India is no mean task. I believe my experience in such situations will put me in good stead,” the Chennai-based Karthik told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

The selectors meet here on Wednesday morning.

How is he enjoying the competition' “The fight for a place in the side always helps bring out the best in me,” says Karthik. “Dhoni’s performance does not put me under extra pressure. I concentrate on playing my natural game.”

Dhoni’s batting may be his strong point but Karthik, who has played 10 Test matches for India, says he too can prove himself if given the chance. “I have put in extra hours at nets working with my batting. Practising with the Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy team has helped me finetune my keeping skills as well. I am in fine nick,” Karthik explained.

Dhoni, whose growing popularity sends the crowd into a frenzy every time he walks in, says he is feeling the pressure. “I am aware of the expectations... I certainly feel the pressure. But I forget everything as I walk into the field. I play my shots as the situation demands,” the Jharkhand player said.

“I need to balance my batting and wicketkeeping. I am working hard on my wicketkeeping and hope to keep improving. Keeping to Anil bhai and Harbhajan is a big challenge,” Dhoni added.

Dhoni’s success has opened up new options for the thinktank. “Batting at No.3 was new to me, but now I’m comfortable batting at any position. I am gaining experience and hope to improve further.”

But isn’t batting and wicketkeeping a big burden' “It all depends on the on-season and off-season training of players. I think the physio has done a good job in this regard.”

Dhoni is aware of the responsibilities that come with Test matches. “I know it’s not going to be easy. Test match cricket is entirely different. But I’ll do it in my own way.”

The intense and healthy rivalry for the ’keeper’s slot certainly bodes well for Indian cricket.

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