Banglore: I didn’t lose my place to a normal cricketer, it was MS Dhoni remarks Dinesh Kartik. It wasn’t easy being Dinesh Karthik in an era where Mahendra Singh Dhoni redefined the role of a keeper-batsman.
Having last played a Test match way back in 2010, Karthik, during all these years of soul searching, was honest in his analysis as to why he didn’t get a chance to wear the white flannels — “he was not good enough in presence of a special player like Dhoni”.
“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,” Karthik said ahead of his comeback Test against Afghanistan.
Karthik, who came in as a replacement to injured Wriddhiman Saha, has not played 87 Tests since he played the last of his 23 Tests against Bangladesh in 2010.
In fact, a statistician will reveal the plight of the keepers during ‘Dhoni era’. Karthik’s 87 Test match gap is an Indian record but then the earlier record was held by Parthiv Patel, who made a comeback after 83 Test matches and eight year hiatus from the longest format.
“So, I didn’t lose my place to some normal cricketer; he (Dhoni) was special. I respect him for that. At that stage, I could not produce enough performance to hold on to my side. I need to be honest with myself. Now, I have another opportunity and I guess, I will try my best,” the Chennai stumper said in an honest assessment.
If Dhoni kept him out of Test squad till 2014, the next four years saw emergence 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 by 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 you are competing with somebody (Afghanistan). That puts extra pressure to what already is there,” Karthik said.
“What I am trying to do — as cliched 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,” he said.
“If I go into your question and start thinking about that aspect, then it will be subjective — I need to score this, I need to score that. I don’t want to keep it that way. I want to keep it in a way which is try and prepare as much as I can. And given a chance, try and deliver. I am keeping my whole process that way.”