After facing backlash on social media for declining a single in the final over of the third T20 against New Zealand, Indian batsman Dinesh Karthik said that he backed himself to finish off the match for India. With 16 runs required in the final over, Karthik shocked everyone when he declined Krunal Pandya for a single in the third ball. India went on to lose the match by just four runs.
Reflecting on the moment Karthik said, “I think Krunal and I batted really well from that situation (when India were reduced to 145/6 in 15.2 overs). We were able to bring the match down to a place where the bowlers were under pressure.”
“We backed ourselves to do the job. And at that stage (after refusing the single), I genuinely believed that I could hit a six,” Karthik on Wednesday was quoted by PTI as saying.
“As a middle-order batsman, a lot of times you have to trust your ability to play those big shots under pressure. It is also important to trust your partner at that time. I did not come off on that occasion but those things happen in the game of cricket. Some days you are able to hit a boundary, some days the bowler does a good job. And there, you have to give credit to Time Southee for the way he executed those yorkers under pressure. One mistake there and I am sure we would have take him down,” he explained.
Asked if the team management had a word with him on not taking the single, Karthik said, “They were all aware of the situation and knew we both did the best we could. On that day, we were not good enough. But the support staff, as it has been around for a long time, understood it (our game plan). As I said, you keep practising those situations and because the belief I had in overcoming those situations in practice, I trusted myself do the job in the middle. I was not able to deliver it that day. That is what sport is. The more you back yourself, the more consistent you become in finishing the game.”
Karthik, who made his debut for the national side almost 15 years ago has featured in 26 Tests, 91 ODIs and 30 T20s. However, the 33-year-old cricketer in the last two years has been a regular face in the Indian squad. Over the past two years, Karthik has play 20 ODIs and 21 T20Is besides making a Test comeback after more than eight years.
On his performance over the past two years, Karthik said, “If you go by the results, definitely yes (his best run in international cricket). It has been a good couple of years. There is some continuity and that feels good. The team has also done well so it has been a great couple of years to be a part of.”
Karthik knows the upcoming home series against Australia is crucial and he is ready to prove himself again. “As an international cricketer, you have to keep reinventing the wheel, being consistent is part of it. There will be questions asked and you have to keep answering them (with your performances). If you read into those things too much (of proving yourself repeatedly), it only pulls you down. It is important that whatever opportunities you get, you do the best you can.”
Karthik during the interview revealed that he has reached a stage when performing under pressure has become second nature to him. “Abhishek and I have been practising those situations for long now. Preparing on different wickets, different days, it helps. As a player, you want to revel in those situations. That is when you raise the bar for yourself and for your team as well.”
He also said that the number six slot is still not open for him as the team management are flexible in their approach. “Not really. They are also very flexible in in their approach. I don’t think they have fixed me at number five or six. They just believe that whatever opportunity they will give me at any position, they know that I will do the best that I can. They know that I am able to finish games, irrespective of the batting position,” the batsman added.
(With inputs from PTI)