Dinesh Karthik wants to claim Ranji title for TN

Chennai: Dinesh Karthik has made it clear he has no plans of quitting first-class cricket to focus on limited overs, saying he will continue to pursue his dream of claiming the Ranji Trophy title for Tamilnadu.

Last month, India middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu had announced his retirement from first-class cricket to focus on ODIs and T20Is. Asked if he was thinking along similar lines, Karthik said: “No, I haven’t thought about it because I really enjoy playing for Tamilnadu. I think one of the joys of the sport is playing for the State. The minute I think that people see me as a burden playing for Tamilnadu I will take a step back,” he told reporters ahead of the Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match between Tamilnadu and Kerala that began today.

“I will play for Tamilnadu as long as possible only because the dream of winning that one title for me – the Ranji Trophy. Still not been able to achieve it, so I will keep trying as many years as I can play for Tamilnadu.”

The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman, who enjoyed a good 2018 including his heroics in the Nidahas Trophy final in Sri Lanka, said it was a phenomenal year. “It has been a phenomenal year. Very happy to be in the place that I am. There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Actually, it is interesting times,” said Karthik, who was part of the Indian T20 squad which played in Australia recently.

He is part of next year’s 50-overs World Cup but Karthik said he was not thinking so far ahead. “I am not thinking so far ahead. Because, as soon as I start thinking about the World Cup and all that there will be more pressure than what is already there. There is obviously the Australia series, New Zealand series … there is a lot of cricket coming up, I need to focus on that … the best I can do and take it from there,” he added.

Karthik, who has been seen in the finisher’s role in the national side in recent times, said it was an aspect he was working on.

“Look, I think that’s one aspect that I have been trying to work on, trying to finish games. I try to practice in such a way that I put myself in situations where I can practice that and things have been coming out pretty well in those kind of tense situations,” he said.

“It is a very important aspect of batting … trying to finish games off and that’s what I am focusing on,” he added. The Tamilnadu player said his aim was to do well in every match that he plays.

“For me every match is an opportunity to do well, as cliched as it sounds, that’s how I have been playing in the last few years. Next is the Ranji Trophy. I need to do well. My endeavour is to help Tamilnadu qualify.”

Tamilnadu have logged only five points from four games so far and Karthik said the team needs to play some special cricket if they have to qualify for the knockouts. “We need to play some special cricket. I don’t think we have played up to potential in the first four games. If we want to qualify, we need to do something special from hereon,” he said.