Birmingham: He is nervous but Dinesh Karthik can't escape a feeling of deja vu as he gets ready to don the big gloves in a Test series in England exactly 10 years after his impressive knocks against the same opposition.
Karthik, who made his Test comeback against Afghanistan in June, will have big responsibility of filling up for one of India's finest wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who is set to undergo shoulder surgery.
In 2007 series in England, Karthik had played a pivotal role scoring 60 at Lord's, 77 at Trent Bridge and 91 at the Oval in India's 1-0 victory.
"I am feeling nervous and a little excited. Playing Test cricket after a long time, and I am looking forward to it. Playing in England is a great challenge, and like any other player, I am as excited as I can be," Karthik told BCCI.TV.
Interestingly, Karthik is the only surviving player from that tour of 2007, when India last won a Test series in England under Rahul Dravid.
"I don't remember so far back, my memory is so bad. I do remember it as the highlight of my career (so far). It was a terrific Test series - one of the few series where both sides played the same XI through the three Tests.
"It just goes to show how competitive it was. Both teams didn't feel the need to make any changes, which shows the kind of quality of cricket in the contest," Karthik fondly recollected.
Karthik remembered the banter and arguments with the famous "jelly bean incident" at Trent Bridge involving Zaheer Khan and England players. Zaheer while batting found some chewed jelly beans on the pitch and had an argument with England players. A fired up Zaheer took a five-for in the second innings to set up an Indian win.
"There was also a lot of banter and arguments, quite a few heated moments in the Test series but it was all played in a good spirit. We saved a game at the Lord's, won in Nottingham, and Anil Kumble got a hundred at Surrey (Oval). They had no way to make a match out of it," said Karthik.
The 33-year-old was all praise for captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri for leading the unit from the front.
"We are looking forward to it as a team and we are excited to see the captain and coach leading us from the front with a lot of positive energy and positive vibes, so at this point of time the mood in the camp is upbeat," he said.
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"Wriddhiman Saha has stiffness in his neck. The BCCI medical team is treating him and monitoring his progress. KS Bharat will be keeping wickets in his absence," BCCI said in a media statement.
It is understood that Shubman has been told that he would bat in the middle-order in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, where Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team in the absence of Virat Kohli, who is on a break