- Karthik is no novice when it comes to dealing with pressures of captaincy
- Karthik has guided Tamil Nadu to victory in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2009-10, helped India Red to title-win in the last Duleep Trophy
- Karthik is set to be at the helm of two-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders
CHENNAI: Dinesh Karthik is no novice when it comes to dealing with pressures of captaincy. Karthik, a regular fixture in the IPL set up in the last decade, has guided Tamil Nadu to victory in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2009-10, helped India Red to title-win in the last Duleep Trophy and has been at the helm of his state side in a few domestic tournaments.
However, this is neither Tamil Nadu nor a Duleep Trophy side. Karthik is set to be at the helm of two-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders and has succeeded Gautam Gambhir, one of the most successful captains in IPL. Skipper Karthik will have to handle a star-studded dressing room, which includes the likes of Sunil Narine, Mitchell Starc and Andre Russell. If that wasn’t enough, he will also have to deal with the huge expectations of the emotional fans who will be chanting korbo, lorbo, jeetbo re at the Eden Gardens.
ALSO READ: Dinesh Karthik appointed Kolkata Knight Riders captain
To add to the pressure, the giant screen will keep reminding the 32-year-old wicket-keeper of his iconic co-owner Shah Rukh Khan every time a wicket falls or a boundary is scored.
Karthik, though, is well aware of the challenges that lay ahead and would be keen to pick the brains of KKR coach Jacques Kallis. “At this point I am a little nervous and at the same time excited as well. It’s a very young side. There are few very interesting talents from India Under-19 that we have picked up. Things have come in really fast to me and I am looking forward to it,” Karthik, who is part of the Indian team for the Nidahas Trophy tri-series, said of his new role.
For Karthik, his “fearless” approach will be a vital ingredient in his leadership book. TN coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar mentioned that Karthik’s “high energy levels” on the field must have been one of the key factors which could have tilted KKR’s decision in his favour.
“He knows the IPL set up and will be a fearless captain. That’s how he approaches his batting. He should back his instincts no matter what the results are in the first few games. When you are leading, there will be a few people saying things. He has to understand that and then back his call. His enthusiasm and chirpiness on the ground is critical. I think that’s one quality of Karthik which would have made KKR take the decision,” the former Pune Supergiant assistant coach told TOI.
Karthik’s never been one to follow orthodox methods with the bat. His former statemate S Badrinath, who has played under Karthik’s leadership, mentioned his approach to captaincy will be no different to that of his batting. “I know captain Karthik and he doesn’t go by the books. He is strategically innovative, trying out different things. He thinks on his feet and is a complete modern day cricketer. At this stage of his career, this is a great opportunity for him. There will be pressure but I’m sure he will embrace this challenge,” said Badrinath.
KKR have quite a few teenagers in their squad. Both Badrinath and Kanitkar feel that Karthik’s “approachable and friendly” nature in dealing with youngsters will help KKR. “He is definitely a skipper for the youngsters. He loves being around with youngsters and passing on knowledge. He will back them and give them freedom to express themselves. That’s a good thing for KKR,” Badrinath added.