Free Press Journal

Experience is our strength against Afghanistan: Karthik


Bengaluru: Indian cricket players Dinesh Karthik dives for a catch during a practice session ahead of their maiden cricket test match against Afghanistan, in Bengaluru on Monday, June 11, 2018. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) (PTI6_11_2018_000049B)

Wicketkeeper says having played many matches before will help Indian players in the historic Test

Bengaluru : India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik is enamoured by Afghanistan’s “beautiful journey” in international cricket but that has not held him back from shooting off a veiled warning to the newcomers.

“Clearly all their spinners put together wouldn’t have played that many matches that [a young] Kuldeep Yadav [24 first-class matches] would have played in four day cricket,” Karthik said ahead of the historic one-off Test against Afghanistan starting Thursday.

Factually, he was correct as Kuldeep’s 24 first-class games including two Test matches is 13 more than the aggregate of 11 four-day games between three of their specialist spinners — Rashid Khan (4), Zahir Khan (7) and Zadran (0).

Recently, after routing Bangladesh in a three-match T20 series, Stanikzai said that Afghanistan have “better quality spinners” than India. “I don’t know what the person [Stanikzhai] had said but you have got to understand that we have got a lot of experience, not only in Test match cricket but a lot of domestic cricket, a lot of four day matches.”

Karthik said that value of experience can never be undermined, a testimony is a whopping 476 Test wickets between Ravichandran Ashwin (311) and Ravindra Jadeja (165 wickets).

“Experience at the end of the day has a lot of value as you saw with CSK in IPL. I am very sure that they [Afghanistan] would be better bowlers by the start of the next Test match than what they are now,” Karthik had words of encouragement for the rookies.

He feels that Afghanistan spinners’ phenomenal show in shorter versions can be transformed in longer versions also.

“The kind of improvement they have shown in white ball cricket has been phenomenal. There is no reason why they can’t do it in red ball cricket. But I would say our spinners have a lot of experience and I would say experience can’t be easily bought. I am sure their players will also vouch for that.”

The wicket-keeper batsman said that Afghanistan’s journey should be put into perspective simply because what the players have achieved in an environment of turmoil.

“Oh it’s a beautiful journey isn’t it. It’s been a highlight for ICC to have a Test nation in Afghanistan. Not many people knew Afghanistan played cricket. We all know what a tough place it is and the kind of turmoil they go through and despite that, they are able to inspire people with their performances,” he said.

“You have to give them credit. They are trying to beat all the odds.”

I lost my place to Dhoni, not to a normal cricketer: Dinesh

Bengaluru : 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.

“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. “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.

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