India wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik is only 36 and has been around for the last 18-19 years. Ever since his debut, he has only managed to play in patches for Team India. One could say that he could be in his last phase of playing international cricket, if he gets selected in the team in future. But Karthik opened up about his India dreams and the upcoming T20 World Cups.
“I will continue playing as long as I am fit. I can see myself playing for another three-four years. Touch-wood, if my fitness is as it is and if I continue to contribute with the bat, I see no reason as to why I shouldn’t be playing. These days, there are so many fitness tests and the rate at which they have the fitness tests, they remove the age out of the equation," Karthik told Cricketnext.
“What they want to see is not the age but how fit you are. If you can get through the fitness tests, it means you are ready to play for the country. My aim is to play for the country in the T20 World Cups. There are back-to-back T20 World Cups, this year and the next year, and I am doing everything I can to be a part of that. I know I have done really well in the past and even when I got dropped from the team after the World Cup, I thought I had done phenomenally well for India in T20s up till then, but because the World Cup did not go well, I got chucked out of the T20 as well.
“But given an opportunity, especially in the middle order, I know India definitely needs a finisher there. I know we have Hardik (Pandya) and (Ravindra) Jadeja there. That’s something that I have kept my focus on, to be a pure middle-order batsman. I feel that is a specialised slot, the ability to win games and set up good totals to help the team win. That’s something that I have focussed on and I have done well over a period of time and am backing myself to do it over and over again. And, I know that if I do that, there will be a place in the Indian team."
Karthik also made it clear that the Sri Lanka series is on his radar too. In fact he wants to replicate what MS Dhoni as a finisher did for India over the years. “Definitely, that is the role I have been working on. I have been doing it for KKR and also for TN. I am very confident in that role. You can get a lot of runs batting in the top-order when there is Power Play and the fields are up and you can go over the top. The skill comes in for a middle-order batsman, especially after 14 overs, what is he going to do. That’s what I have tried to focus on and tried to help teams achieve that. To be fair, I have done with a fair degree of success and that is why I am confident that if given the opportunity, I will make a difference for the country in the T20 format."