MS Dhoni can bring the best out of players: Arun Karthik
Karthik shares the magic moments he shared with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in the dressing room.
Published - Dec 15, 2018 12:39 pm | Updated - Dec 15, 2018 7:05 pm
October 5, 2011, CL T20: There was no stopping Shaun Tait that night. He was spitting poison with the ball. Royal Challengers Bangalore capitulated haplessly. He was outdrawing anyone and everyone who stomped on to his path. The South Australian Redbacks got RCB on their knees as Tait walked away with a fifer.
Even as the Aussie speedster seemed to have drilled the final nail in RCB’s coffin, there was one final twist in the tail remaining, which even the optimists would’ve thought twice before predicting. In walks Arun Karthik, his mind filled with horror and it was evident from the way he was involved in the run-out of Syed Mohammad.
After four balls, he was back on strike- the last ball of the match. The Challengers needed a colossal blow from him. Dan Christian tried to fox him with an off-cutter. But Karthik was equal to the task. He knelt down and deposited it 20 rows deep into the stands.
2018: The heroics remain to be one of Karthik’s most cherished moments seven years down the line. But there’s more to the 32-year-old. He petrified the bowlers in this year’s Tamil Nadu Premier League and haemorrhaged 472 runs at an average of 78.66 and a strike-rate of 153.74. His numbers may not be counted amongst the best, but the Kerala batter is definitely more than just mere ‘numbers’.
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction set to take centre-stage on December 18, Karthik can attract a decent bid. Ahead of the auction, CricTracker caught up with the experienced campaigner and got some insights into his thoughts about his upcoming endeavours and other aspects of Indian cricket.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
You were the best player this year in TNPL by a distance. What went into preparing for the season and how did you approach the game?
Thank you for mentioning that. T20 is a form of cricket which requires a lot of preparation, both physically and mentally. For the last 2 and half years, I have been exploring lots of ideas, skills and techniques on T20 cricket. I learnt a lot about adapting to the situation, breaking mental barriers to believe that at any situation a game can be won, worked on a few technical changes to my game, like power hitting, death overs batting etc and focused on my fitness to get to new levels.
Regardless of the fact that Madurai franchise had struggled in the previous season, it showed grit to come back and win the championship. What is the sort of mental preparation to face the pressure?
I was really hurt by the fact that, we as a team couldn’t win a single game. I was contributing much but it was not enough to win games. I was shattered. Then I sat down and told myself to leave no stones unturned. So, I became obsessed with winning. I was like an arrow that could only see the target. I trained thrice a day in the offseason, working close to 10 hours a day. I replayed all the possible situations which we might face in the matches and prepared for it with devotion.
You had previous stints playing with Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Is there any dressing room memories? What did you get to pick from the likes of Dhoni and Kohli?
Those days were an amazing learning curve for me who was new to the domestic circuit at that time. I learnt a lot from the other players. Especially from (Matthew) Hayden, he used to run 8 laps around Chepauk at 1 pm in the summer of May. It showed me the importance of preparation. Also, Mike Hussey‘s routines before every session. Everything was professional and picture-perfect. Mahi bhai’s magic to get the best from the players, it’s something not many people can do.
At RCB it was a magical experience playing alongside Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and all the other stars. That was the time Virat started to get into fitness. Oh boy, he was a man on a mission. He was focused, determined and you can make it from his eyes. There was a little from every doyen around me that taught and inspired me.
How has the current season been shaping up?
This season has been going well. We, as a team, have been doing brilliantly. I have made my fair share of contributions to the team too, although it is my nature to always want to do more. My fielding skills have played a major role in helping me capture multiple wickets every match. I can see that the efforts I took to prepare for TNPL are paying off to an extent even in the longer format. I am glad that my improved fitness levels are aiding me in every format.
How are you approaching the IPL auction? With wicketkeeper-batsmen in demand, how positive are you about it?
I’m very confident of doing well in the IPL for the team that I get picked. But again, the auction is something that isn’t in any player’s control. Yes, as a wicketkeeper I have been working a lot, I have put in the time and effort on it. Let’s see how it goes. I have the numbers behind me, so it’s going to be quite exciting.