Disappointed Karthik hopes to return to wicketkeeping duties

Dinesh Karthik last played a Test in 2010 © BCCI

Dinesh Karthik, currently playing for Tamil Nadu as a specialist batsman, is disappointed that a hairline fracture to his little finger on his right hand coincided with India’s hunt for a wicketkeeper to replace the injured Wriddhiman Saha in Mohali.

While it is understood that the selectors would have anyway preferred Parthiv Patel, because of his improved wicketkeeping and experience, Karthik still rued the timing of his injury.

“When there is an opportunity to play for the Indian team and you get injured at that time, it is definitely disappointing,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “I got hit in the first [Ranji Trophy] match against Mumbai. I kept in two matches after that, but it caused quite a bit of pain. Then, my doctor and physio told me that if I continued to keep wickets it could lead to a stress fracture and jeopardise my season. So, I had to rest.

“I padded my little finger heavily and thought I will push myself for another game, but after the third game it was impossible; it was hurting too much. Even during the Dharamsala game against Uttar Pradesh, I couldn’t keep in the second innings because I had kept for nearly 160 overs in the first innings.”

Karthik hasn’t kept for four matches, but hopes to return to his preferred position ahead of Tamil Nadu’s last league game against Gujarat in two weeks. “It is healing and getting better with time,” he said. “After two-three weeks of rest, I should be better.”

This isn’t the first time Karthik has been overlooked for a wicket-keeping berth even in a stop-gap position. Naman Ojha was chosen as Saha’s replacement for the third Test in Sri Lanka last year. This season, however, Karthik may have slipped down the pecking order despite being Tamil Nadu’s top scorer because of his injury. But he still hopes the improvements he’s made as a keeper would be recognised.

“I am very concerned about my contributions as a keeper,” he said. “I have been working with Sameer Dighe for the last three-four years whenever I have got the opportunity. It’s just been one-on-one two or three-day camps a lot of times. That’s really helped my keeping. Even this season, before the Duleep Trophy, I went and had a few sessions with Sameer in Mumbai.

“Keepers are judged a lot like umpires; you are only remembered for your bad ones. Sometimes if you have taken five catches you could have still had a bad day, wherein if you haven’t taken any catch you could have still had a good day, by getting into the line of the ball correctly and taking those difficult ones. The chairman of selectors MSK Prasad knows what keeping is about. I think he will do a very fair job for the keepers.”

Karthik last played a Test over six years ago. His last international was over two years ago. While he’s aware of the competition around him, he said he wasn’t bogged down by it. “It’s important to be competitive and trying to keep getting better at the sport,”That’s something I have always focused on – trying to improve myself in an all-round perspective. I must say that’s one of the reasons why I am able to contribute still for Tamil Nadu.”

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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