Dinesh Karthik on Sunday acknowledged that he has an onerous task of replacing a very successful Gautam Gambhir but asserted that he has it in him to steer Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to at least the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs and get the best out of his side.
KKR think-tank chose not to retain two-time title-winning skipper Gautam Gambhir, and handed the reins of the team to the Tamil Nadu batsman, bought for Rs 7.4 crore.
"What Gautam Gambhir has achieved for KKR is phenomenal. He's left a benchmark," Karthik said after joining his new team and on the sidelines of a their jersey launch.
Under Gambhir, KKR twice emerged champions (2012, 2014) and also made the playoffs thrice (2011, 2016 and 2017).
Karthik has wealth of experience having played for as many as five different IPL franchisees — Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions in last season.
"Being a leader of the team, the management will expect from me the same. I'm aware of the expectations. Yes, there would be pressure. As a captain, you're expected to at least go to the playoffs, that's the least anybody can expect. I think I'm at a stage where I can handle it and get the best out of the team," he asserted.
Karthik looked a transformed batsman in the Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh in Colombo last month when his last-ball six sealed a nervy win for India.
"It's been close to 10 days (14 days) now since that innings, things have moved on, people have moved on. We have a new bunch of boys. It was a great game as I've said. When we play Bangladesh, it's a different kind of pressure. If you win, you are like 'okay you've won', but if you lose it's like 'wake up, what you doing' types.
"We had a good start, it dipped in the middle. I just had to hit boundaries when I got in. I was lucky on that day. We had a good season, and for us to not win that game would not have been nice to end the series. It was a great feeling."
Karthik hinted that he might promote himself in the batting order when they open their IPL 11 campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore at home.
"Obviously I will bat at different position than what I did in the Indian game. IPL is about dealing with tricky situation, handling pressure. It's just a week to go and I don't think I will treat myself any differently. Everybody is here to do their best and I'm no different. Everybody has a role to play," he said.
While Karthik will be busy with his IPL assignment, his wife and India's squash ace Dipika Pallikal is eyeing a second gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
"One thing I've learnt from her is a lot of determination. She's worked really hard especially for the CWG. Four years back she won gold in Glasgow. As a player, the most important thing is to be able to repeat it and be consistent. She has worked really hard in the last four years to get a gold again. She's already in Gold coast. It's very important two weeks in her life," he said.
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