Ind vs Eng: The most important Test series of Dinesh Karthik's career
Karthik's opening partner on 2007 tour of England, Wasim Jaffer believes wicketkeeper-batsman must use this opportunity to seal his place in team
Team India's wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik is all set to don the big gloves in a Test series against England, after exactly 11 years. Karthik played a pivotal role in England, scoring 60 at Lord's, 77 at Trent Bridge and 91 at the Oval in India's 1-0 series victory in 2007. He was the top-scorer in that series with 263 runs, which included three half centuries.
'No. 6 batting slot crucial'
Karthik's opening partner in that series, Wasim Jaffer, felt DK has an even more significant role to play this time round. "This time, he may bat at No. 6. I think his batting position will be very important as the second new ball may come into play around that time. The ball swings quite a lot in England. Karthik is well-versed with English conditions and that will help him behind the stumps too," Jaffer told mid-day over the phone from England where he's playing in Greater Manchester League for Walshaw Cricket Club.
Wasim Jaffer and Abhishek Nayar
Recalling one of his partnerships with Karthik then, Jaffer said: "He was very young, but a determined cricketer nevertheless. We put on an opening partnership of nearly 150 runs [147 to be precise] in Nottingham and that laid the foundation for us to win this Test and the series." Former Mumbai skipper Jaffer, 40, reckoned Karthik should use this opportunity to cement his place in the Test side. "The good thing about him is that he keeps on scoring runs and improves his game with every match. He always looks determined to do well. He has waited long for this opportunity and now he should grab it with both hands. This is a five-match Test series, Rishabh Pant [20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman] is also part of the squad, so there will be competition," said Jaffer.
Another former Mumbai captain, Abhishek Nayar, who is Karthik's mentor, has advised him to enjoy the moment and play fearlessly despite the nervousness and excitement that is bound to creep in. "If you are prepared well, then there is some comfort. He has been in England for a month and a half and played one ODI and one practice match, so he should be well prepared. If you enter the ground with a lot of pressure, it doesn't help. Yes, there should be excitement, but not too much of nervousness," said Nayar.
Although 11 years have passed since Karthik played a Test on English soil, Nayar felt that the wily cricketer has not changed much since 2007. "Some people feel that he's doing something different and has changed a lot, but I don't think so. He is doing the same things that he used to do earlier. He's following his routine and process as a cricketer, which will help him perform well," he added.
Nayar however warned that the good memories of 2007 will not give Karthik any psychological edge. "James Anderson was a different bowler then, Stuart Broad was not even part of the England squad. So, I don't think those memories count for much," he signed off.
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