On Test comeback, DK promises to give his best
Calcutta: Making a Test comeback after eight long years, Dinesh Karthik is determined to give his best.
Recalling the phase that kept him out of Test cricket, Karthik blamed it on his inconsistency apart from pointing out the emergence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni that changed the entire perception.
Interacting ahead of the one-off Test versus Afghanistan in Bangalore, Karthik said: "Look, I think I wasn't good enough, rather I was not consistent enough. That was a highly competitive environment and there was someone called MS Dhoni breathing down my neck, which caused a lot of stir in world cricket at that point of time.
"He went on to become one of the greatest captains India has ever produced. So, I didn't lose my place to some normal cricketer. It was lost to Dhoni, who was special. And I respect him for that.
"At that stage, I could not produce enough performance to hold on to my place. I need to be honest with myself. Now, I have another opportunity and I guess, I will try my best to deliver."
With Dhoni keeping Karthik out of the Test squad till 2014 end, the next four years witnessed the arrival of Wriddhiman Saha as one of India's most technically accomplished wicketkeepers. While Saha's injury has opened the door for Karthik, he wouldn't like to over-burden himself, thinking how he could hold onto his place.
"If you go deep into the question on what I should do to keep out someone else, then you are taking energy away from the fact that we are competing with somebody. That puts extra pressure to what already is there," the wicketkeeper-batsman said.
"What I am trying to do - as cliche as it may sound - is trying to be the best cricketer that I can be, not on the field but also off the field. I am trying to be consistent there, even if I don't get an opportunity.
"Even if I don't play the sport at the highest level, I want to be content with the fact that I have given everything I had both on and off the field. I want to keep it in a way which is to try and prepare as much as I can. And given a chance, try and deliver. I am keeping my whole process that way."
Karthik also feels that playing Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu kept him on his toes as the team was playing the knockouts almost every two years. "I enjoyed playing the Ranji Trophy. It is a totally different challenge.
"There are not many people coming and watching you play, yet we play the sport because we enjoy playing it. I am lucky that way because I have always done that subconsciously. I have enjoyed being a part of the Tamil Nadu team.
"Credit to them as well for having put up with me over the tough years. I am really indebted to them. It is very easy to fade away, but for Tamil Nadu to constantly competing in the Ranji Trophy, that really was a challenge.
"Every alternate year, we put up performances. We were consistent. Every two years we would hit the knockouts and go to the semis or final," he said.
As a senior pro, Karthik was expected to perform and he has done that with aplomb over the years.
"As senior players, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association expects you to perform well. I am happy to do that for the team.
"Along the way, if I have been able to help young guys, then it's great. At the end of the day, I was happy to play for a team like Tamil Nadu which has backed me all these years. Today, I am really happy that I am sitting here."