Kolkata Knight Riders coach Katich: It’s time for Karthik to lift IPL cup

Kolkata:  With a World Cup spot sealed, it is time for Dinesh Karthik to achieve his “goal” of lifting the IPL cup, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batting coach Simon Katich said Tuesday.

KKR captain Karthik, who was ignored for the five-match ODI home series against Australia, was picked for India’s World Cup squad ahead of young Rishabh Pant. “He (Karthik) is always full of energy. Now it’s about going out there and lifting the trophy and achieving his ultimate goal,” the 43-year-old Katich told PTI in an interview.

“You never believe you are a great leader until you actually have success in lifting a trophy. That’s when you finally believe you have done a great job. He, too, has got that in him and, hopefully, he achieves that goal. He is on the journey.”

The former Australia opener also backed Karthik to bat at No. 4 in the World Cup beginning 30 May.

“He’s very consistent. There’s no doubt he has done the job of a finisher when he got an opportunity. He can potentially bat higher. There’s a lot of talk around that No. 4 spot and he’s the sort of guy who likes to spend some time in the middle,” said Katich.

“Once he is set, he is very hard to bowl to at the back end of an innings. He has got all the tricks. He also has got the timing and power to clear the rope, particularly off the short ball. He played a couple of hook shots for sixes in Delhi,” he said of Karthik’s 50 against Delhi Capitals.

That’s Karthik’s only half-century this IPL season as he has just 111 runs from seven innings at an average of 18.50 — a far cry from last season when he was KKR’s leading run-getter.

“He’s been in great touch but not getting more opportunity because top order batsmen are doing their job,” Katich explained, insisting that Karthik’s form is not a concern for KKR.

After suffering three successive losses, KKR next face struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens Friday.

Having lost seven matches out of eight, bottom-placed RCB’s playoff hopes are all but over and Katich said the Virat Kohli-led side has not been able to combine well as a team.

“It’s easy to talk from the outside. Until you are in the inner sanctum, you don’t know the mood, the group. That’s probably the hard part. They have not been able to gel as a unit,” he said of RCB.