Newly appointed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Dinesh Karthik on Sunday said he is aware of the expectations the team management has from him as he is filling in the big shoes of Gautam Gambhir. He further added that he is at a point in his career where he can cope with it. "What Gautam Gambhir has achieved for KKR is phenomenal. He's left a benchmark that every season they have qualified as bare minimum," Karthik said.
"And being a leader of the team, the management will expect the same from me. I'm aware of the expectations. Whether there would be pressure, 'yes'. 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," Karthik remarked.
KKR decided to let go of their former captain Gambhir who was sold to Delhi Daredevils for Rs 2.8 crore in the auctions earlier this year.
Gambhir helped the men in purple win two titles in 2012 and 2014 after joining them in 2011 from Delhi where he spent the first three seasons.
KKR finished in the top four for the first time in the very season before lifting the coveted trophy in the next year.
Karthik helped India win the tri series in Sri Lanka with a whirlwind unbeaten eight-ball 29 in the final against Bangladesh.
"It's been close to 10 days now since that innings, things have moved on, people have moved on. We have a new bunch of boys," Karthik said recalling the effort that catapulted him to unprecedented recognition last month.
"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 not to win that game would not have been nice to end the series. It was a great feeling," the 32-year-old stumper added.
Asked how he always keeps his cool, Karthik said, "I'm a normal human being. I do get angry. I've my moments. But I'm a pretty patient, that's a good thing to be a leader.
"It's not about throwing your weight, but maximise your resources. The kind of players I've in front of me, there's no reason for me to get angry. It's going to be a pleasure working with them and getting the best out of them."
Karthik hinted that he might promote himself in the batting order when they open their tournament 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' 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 added.
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