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July 5, 2019

Dinesh Karthik

Headingley, Leeds, England, UK

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Dinesh Karthik. Questions?

Q. (Question not in English about slow bouncers).
DINESH KARTHIK: The batsman point of view, a power player will probably be able to hit that ball a longer distance because somebody who uses the pace of the ball that's a really hard ball to hit, basically. So, it's been a tricky ball in this World Cup, it's got a lot of wickets.

Q. Do you think that since India has already qualified for the semifinals, so what would be the mood now? Have you already started preparing for the semifinals; or, no, match by match?
DINESH KARTHIK: I think, look, first up is Sri Lanka. I think there's a few things a few players would want to achieve personally and as a team as well. We'd definitely want to play the best game that we can. But having said that, I think at the back of our minds we do have the semifinal on mind. I think that's a big game for us. For all the four teams that qualify, it's going to be a massive game. So that's in the back of the mind. But having said that, I think we're professional enough to go out there against Sri Lanka and play a very clinical game.

Q. What would you like to take out of the game with a view to the semifinal?
DINESH KARTHIK: From the Sri Lanka game, I think, look, I think at the end of the day a few of the batters would want to have a good hit. Obviously at this point of time even the bowlers, for that matter, it's important that they work on the things that they want to do. I think there is scope for improvement in all aspects of our game. I think we've been playing a good tournament until now, but I'm sure personally each player would have some box to tick and I think we'll all be looking to do that.

Q. You said you had half an eye on the semifinalists. What are your thoughts on the teams in the semifinals and who carries the most threat?
DINESH KARTHIK: Look, to be very honest, I think -- it's a World Cup semifinal, so I think all the other three teams, apart from India, obviously all four teams are going to be really looking forward to that game. It's hard for me to say, obviously, which team will be a threat. But on any given day any team can stand up. And that's the beauty of a tournament like a World Cup, because once you hit the semifinal mark, it's just that one day, and you've got to make sure you stand up on that day. I think we're really looking forward to it as a team. At the same time, I think we have a game to play in Leeds. We'll do the best we can tomorrow.

Q. You've just played one game so far, but you've seen enough like campaign substitutes and all that, the kinds of conditions, the ground conditions and the pitch. Can you talk about how difficult it is, is it difficult to score in the final 10 for the batting unit?

Q. Depending on the conditions, I'm saying.
DINESH KARTHIK: Yes, obviously, it depends first thing on the conditions. And also it depends a little bit on how many batsmen you have behind you. I think you have more freedom to play shots when you have people who can obviously play until the end. If you feel that it's important that you stay -- if you need to be the player to stay to the end, then you delay the inevitable and then make sure that you take on the bowlers at the stage where you feel that there won't be any loss for the team. So, A, you need to play the conditions. And, B, obviously the skill sets of the bowler, and then you've got to assess what the situation is and what your team needs and then react accordingly.

Q. You made your international debut 15 years back. It's been a long sort of career. Was it anything special making the World Cup level?
DINESH KARTHIK: Look, I've been around for 15 years. So to play that game, I really am happy first. I've been to the World Cup in 2007, which actually didn't go as well as we had planned. And for me to come here and sit out the initial bit and then get a chance -- against Bangladesh, was something that I was really looking forward to for playing a game. I'm really happy. I think it's a very important phase of this tournament. And I'd like to do the best I can moving forward for Team India.

Q. There's been so much talk of how the middle order isn't performing. You came in place of Kedar. Has there been any kind of brief from the team management like the kind of game they expect from you considering the situations and probably post 35th overs, considering the match, and how the tournament has panned out for the middle order?
DINESH KARTHIK: I think they've been very clear on what my role has been. When I go in at No. 7, I need to judge this -- assess the situation of the game and then play accordingly. If obviously we need to cross the line when we're batting second, then I need to pace myself accordingly. If you're 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.

Q. You only got a chance after India played six, seven games. How difficult is it to, like, perform straight away when you have to wait so much in the dressing room for that one chance that you get, you're guaranteed a place at this?
DINESH KARTHIK: Really looking forward. As I said, 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.

Q. Keeping the semifinals in mind, will we see some of the players -- the management resting some of the players for tomorrow's game?
DINESH KARTHIK: To be very honest, I don't know. The first question I'll say I don't know, because I don't know what the team management is thinking. So obviously that call will be taken by the coach and the captain. And until now I have no clue what they've decided on the team yet.

Q. There have been very few successful chases. More teams are winning batting first. Is it because of the conditions that are drastically altering batting second, or is it because of the scoreboard pressure?
DINESH KARTHIK: I think it's a bit of both. The conditions also -- obviously, when you're batting first, it's about seeing through the initial phase when the ball is new and then you have the ability to decide what the par score is and try and get there. When you're batting I think the wicket changes a bit, becomes slightly slower, 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.

Q. Going forward in this tournament, do you think India should consider or look for a sixth bowling option, or the five bowlers are good enough?
DINESH KARTHIK: Look, honestly, it's a very hard question for me to answer. It's up to the team management what they're thinking. I think that's a better question put to them.

Q. How difficult or how do you guys actually prepare yourself before a game like yourself, Ravindra Jadeja, who haven't got a lot of games, how do you go about preparing for each and every game, what's the routine like?
DINESH KARTHIK: I think every member in this 15 prepares every game believing that he can play. I say that because we get a handful of opportunities. We get an opportunity to hit in the practice. We get to play against bowlers. So basically we're treated like we're playing in the 11. So we try and prepare like we're playing in the 11. Obviously when they tell us we're not playing, then obviously that's when we know whether we're playing or not. But up until then, we practice in such a manner that we are knowing we're going to play in the 11.

Q. You just mentioned the scoreboard pressure a couple of answers back. Just curious, are you more conscious of the scoreboard because it's the World Cup? I mean, are you trying to link the tournament with the pressure of the scoreboard?
DINESH KARTHIK: No, to be honest, I think India is a team there have been good chasers for a long time we're very confident of chasing. Here 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're good chasers, because that's what we do day in, day out. And we're a team that actually has the ability to handle pressure very well. We'd back ourselves to chase and get the totals that we believe we can achieve.

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