A couple of days after he was confirmed as India’s back-up wicket-keeper in the World Cup bound squad, Dinesh Karthik has described himself as the “band-aid” the team will use if first choice wicket-keeper M S Dhoni is unavailable due to injury or illness. 33-year old Karthik, who currently captaining Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, was preferred over 21-year old Rishabh Pant for the role on the basis of his superior keeping skills.
“Look, as far as MS Dhoni is concerned, I am just that small first-aid kit that will travel with the team,” Karthik told reporters at a media interaction. “If he (Dhoni) gets injured then I will be the band-aid for the day. I am, however aware that I can bat at No. 4 and or be the finisher, if given the opportunity. Post IPL, I will prepare every day knowing and believing that I can deliver purely as a batsman as I have performed that role earlier.
“It is a special occasion, I am lucky and grateful. My journey for the 2019 World Cup began when I returned to the Indian team in 2017. I started believing that if I do something special, I can be part of this amazing team that will play the World Cup.”
When Karthik had been axed from the Indian squad in Pant’s favour for the home ODI series against Australia, speculation was rife that the younger Pant will pip him for a spot in the World Cup squad too. However, Karthik revealed that he had been kept in the loop by the selectors about the planning that had been put in place for the World Cup with regard to the wicket-keeping position.
“The chairman (MSK Prasad) called me up and said that ‘we have decided to give both wicket-keepers equal opportunities.’ He made it very clear that they would be giving me an opportunity on India’s tour of Australia and New Zealand, and irrespective of my performance, Rishabh will be given his chance in India’s home series against Australia. It was very clear communication and I liked the clarity.
“There will always be someone who will miss out, that’s the nature of the game. But we (Pant and I) never talked about it. He was aware of his opportunity and so was I. If he had been selected, I would have been disappointed. Now that I have been selected, I’m sure he is a bit disappointed,” Karthik said.
However, Karthik marked Pant out as one for the future, and said that he is looking forward to the possibility of sharing the dressing room with him.
“Pant is a special player,” he said. “I am sure he is going to play for India for a long time. If I can play along with Dhoni, why can’t we two (Pant and I) share the same dressing room post the World Cup?”