12.jpgYoung middle order batsman Dinesh Karthick said his match-winning half-century that helped India beat the West Indies at Cuttack was crucial in winning him a berth in the World Cup squad.”Definitely my chances increased after I got runs (top-score of 63)in the Cuttack game (on January 24).I really started believing thenthat I will make
 the team. But if one year ago anyone had said so (that he would make the team), I would have called it a big joke,” said Karthick.       

The 21-year-old, who has been chosen as a specialist middle order batsman who can keep wickets, had rescued the team from a sorry-reading 66 for six by joining forces with Ajit Agarkar (40) to help India recover and win the second tie of the four-match series.

The Chennai-born player, talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to unveil the new team clothing for the World Cup, however, said the Twenty20 game in South Africa was the turning point as it provided him confidence about his batting ability.

“In some respect that was the turning point. I realised that I could turn a game around after that. It gave me a lot of confidence,” said the youngster about his crucial knock of 31 which helped India score their first win on the tour after four straight losses in the ODIs.Karthick, who was sent in as number three from his usual number six or seven in India’s fourth and final one-day international against Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam and flopped, said he would definitely deliver the goods if given another chance to bat in that slot.

“I am looking forward to the challenge (of batting at number three). I got out to a good ball (off Dilhara Fernando). That happens in cricket. You do get a good ball that’s uncomfortable. But I will definitely try and make sure there’s no chink in my armour the next time I go in to bat at no three,” he said.

Karthick said at number six or seven a batsman should be aware and mentally prepared to encounter three types of situations.”Either the side is under pressure at say 110 for five, or you go out needing to get 120 runs or so in the last twenty overs or you come in to bat in the 40th over and have to try and get as many runs as possible. You have to be mentally prepared to face these kinds of situations. Then anything else you encounter should be easy (to negotiate)”, he said.

The Tamil Nadu youngster said that he was enjoying fielding in front of the wicket after having stood behind the stumps all through his career so far.”It feels different from standing behind the wickets which I have done right through my career. But I am enjoying it and as long as you enjoy doing something you tend to find it that much easier to do,” Karthick said.

The Chennai player credited India coach Greg Chappell of encouraging him to take fielding in front of the wicket very seriously during the South African tour.”In South Africa Chappell told me ‘if you work harder on your fielding abilities you can make the (one-day) team as a batsman.’ That’s what I have been doing,” he said.

Karthick said he enjoyed a very healthy relationship with first choice ‘keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.”I enjoy a very healthy relationship with Dhoni. Like Dhoni has said there are four wicketkeepers in the side – Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa, myself and Dhoni. Between me and Dhoni the relationship is as good as it can be. He’s a very friendly guy and I go to him for help with my batting or ‘keeping,” he said.

Kaarthick said the seniors in the team have been advising him to keep his batting simple and not complicate things.”I have been talking to seniors like Sachin (Tendulkar) and Rahul (Dravid), people who I look up to and who have played the game for a long time and undergone such situations.

“They give advice to keep my batting simple and not do things which are complicated for myself. That itself is of great help. They also have advised me to play my natural game,” he added.