India will face Sri Lanka in their last World Cup 2019 league encounter at Headingley on Saturday. India’s middle-order has not been able to deliver the goods with the bat so far in the tournament. India’s batting has let them down on numerous occasions and their lack of firepower down the order was exposed when India failed to chase down 338 against England in Birmingham last week. The team management has tried a few options and replaced Kedar Jadhav with Dinesh Karthik in the last match against Bangladesh, which India eventually won by 28 runs. Speaking to the media ahead of the clash against Sri Lanka, Karthik revealed that the team management has given him clear instructions about his role in the team.

“I think they’ve been very clear on what my role has been. When I go in at No 7, I need to pace myself accordingly if we bat second. If we are batting first, then make sure we get to the par score that’s required. They’ve made it clear that this is where I’ll be batting, and my role is to make sure, whatever the situation is, assess it and do the best that I can,” said Dinesh Karthik.

One of the designated finishers in the Indian line-up, Karthik is happy that he has finally got a chance to play at ICC’s showpiece event after having cooled his heels on the sidelines in the three games of the 2007 edition in the West Indies.

“I’ve been waiting to get this opportunity. So the motivation is there. The hunger is there. It’s about going there and executing. Yes, it didn’t exactly go according to plan against Bangladesh. But I’m sure that in the games to come, that I’ll try and put my best foot forward,” said Karthik, who has played 92 ODIs in decade-and-a-half. 

In this edition of the World Cup, teams have found it difficult to chase totals in excess of 300 and Karthik attributes this largely to the conditions. The slowness of the track in the second half has contributed a lot, he feels. 

“When you are batting second, I think the wicket changes a bit, becomes slightly slower and it helps the spinners a little bit. For a lot of the teams, they’re bowling cross-seam and the wicket has been a little up-and-down as well. “It’s not been that easy to execute shots. And also this is a World Cup, so obviously there’s a bit of scoreboard pressure, and I think a lot of teams have fallen prey to that as well,” the 34-year-old assessed. 

He, however, maintained that the Indian team’s strength has been to chase down totals and it still remains that. 

“No, to be honest, I think India is a team there have been good chasers for a long time and we’re very confident of chasing. 

“I was asked why teams haven’t chased enough. I think the reason being they’re worried about the scoreboard pressure. But having said that, I think we as a team believe that we are good chasers, because that’s what we do day in, day out,” a confident Karthik said.

(With PTI inputs)

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