Players can now focus on IPL post WC selection: Karthik

Kolkata: With the World Cup team selection now done, players can focus back on the Indian Premier League (IPL), feels Dinesh Karthik, who pipped Rishabh Pant for a place in the 15-member India squad for the showpiece event starting May 30 in England and Wales.

“Now that the team has been picked for the World Cup, I think the focus is back on IPL. It’s a fabulous tournament to be a part of. Every franchise gives its all to lift the coveted trophy,” Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Karthik said on the eve of KKR’s match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

“I think everything is back on track and the players are looking forward to a clean slate of games and some good cricket in the next few rounds,” the 33-year-old said.

Karthik, who was KKR’s highest run-getter last season, hasn’t been in good form in this IPL but still got the nod ahead of Pant, a move that had opinions divided.

Asked about the workload management for World Cup-bound players, the stumper-batsman said that what mattered was maintaining a disciplined lifestyle.

“In my book, I don’t think you should leave it in the hands of the players to pick and choose IPL matches. How I see it is, it’s not the match that is the problem. Take a fast bowler, he bowls four overs while on most days a batsman plays 25-30 balls and then comes fielding.

“A player should be aware of the time between two games. Be it recovery or hitting the gym, a player must have his discipline in place,” he said.

KKR have lost their last three matches, but in RCB they have an opponent who are at the bottom of the points table and a defeat on Friday would see Virat Kohli’s side miss a chance to qualify for the playoffs.

Karthik said at the business end of the competition, every game was important and they were taking it one game at a time.

“At this stage, every game is very important irrespective of whoever the opponent is. RCB are a very good side and we’re all aware of it. I think every game is going to be important at this stage of the tournament and we are taking one game at a time.”

On Kohli and AB de Villiers, the home team skipper said: “They are two world class players. We are aware of the fact that if they get going, they are hard to stop. What we need to focus on is our ability to hit the good areas and make sure it’s as hard as it gets for them to bat on that day. I think that’s what we will be looking to do.”