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Prajakta Pawar in Delhi 10 May 2013 - 12:43pm IST

Jennings has transformed me: Arun Karthik

RCB keeper-bat values de Villiers’ inputs on batting

Wicketkeeper-batsman, KB Arun Karthik has enjoyed the longest run of his IPL career in this, the sixth season. Clad in the colours of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Karthik has featured in 11 out of the 12 matches that the Virat Kohli-led side has played in their quest for a place in the Play-Offs.

The 27-year old, has been sharpening his skills behind the stumps and in front of them as well, learning new techniques to enhance his game with the coaches and senior players of the team. Honing his skills and working hard is paying off for the cricketer.

An opening batsman while playing for his state Tamil Nadu in India’s domestic circuit, he bats lower down the order when he turns out for the Bangalore franchise.

He has been taking lessons on batting in the shortest format of the game and as a lower order bat from experienced campaigners in RCB, AB de Villiers in particular. Although he hasn’t had too many chats about ‘keeping with the South African, he has been working intensively with another Protean, who has donned the gloves as a keeper, now the coach of RCB, Ray Jennings.

The youngster credits Jennings for his evolving and growing as a wicketkeeper.

In a chat with
iplt20.com after training at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Karthik talked about his wicket-keeping, batting and the IPL experience with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Excerpts:


You have played 11 out of 12 matches this season, your longest run in the IPL. How does it feel to be entrusted with such responsibility?

It feels good to take up the responsibility as the wicketkeeper. I am grateful to RCB, the management, support staff and the captain. It is good to be part of the team and I am enjoying the responsibility which I have been given. I feel I am contributing to my team here.

What are the challenges while batting in T20?

I have been talking about my position to few of the senior players and what I have heard is batting at No 6, No 7 is one of the toughest positions to bat in T20. Because, only when the team is struggling, batting becomes a possibility and even then, there are very few deliveries to face and I need to score as many runs as possible in such a situation. I haven’t got much of batting this IPL but I am still learning a lot of things.

What are the suggestions and tips you have received and by whom?

I spoke to AB de Villiers about this, because he bats at No 6 or 7 for his National side in T20. He told me it is a tough position and I need to have a cool head and I need to assess the situation first, I need to see who the bowler is. Then I need to look at the percentage (in terms of deliveries) of the number of overs I get in the middle to assess, play shots and then go after bowlers to do my best. It is amazing how the small thing’s he suggests makes big sense.

Have you also discussed wicket-keeping with de Villiers? What were his inputs?

I haven’t had much discussion on wicket-keeping with him. Our coach Ray Jennings is a wicketkeeper so he has done a tremendous job working on me and transforming me as a wicketkeeper.

Can you elaborate more about that?

My coach doesn’t allow me to keep with two hands, which we have been normally brought up to do. He has totally reversed my style to take every catch single-handed. So taking a catch with two hands becomes much easier and your hands move really quick after taking catches with one hand and we have been working on movements too.

What are the challenges ‘keeping to the likes of M Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori?

Initially it was a little tough for me. Last year Murali Sir joined us and during the practice games I was struggling a little to pick his deliveries. I have batted against him in CSK but it is totally different to keep wickets to him. While batting you just react to the delivery and while keeping you follow the ball. So in that sense, picking him was a little difficult, but over a period of time, watching him in the nets, following him in the nets, through lots of drills and talking to him about his variations I think helped and I got better.

RCB has an impressive batting line-up and batters who innovate. What have you learnt from them and what are your innovations?

I have developed as a batsman from the first season of the IPL. During the first edition I was an amateur and I didn’t know what IPL was all about and now I think I have improved on a few shots. I have worked on it in the Ranji Trophy and other games. I have been working with coaches back home in Chennai too.

What is it like playing under Virat Kohli?

Frankly speaking anything you see of Virat on TV, he comes off as this aggressive person, aggressive player, aggressive captain, but in reality he is not aggressive. He is actually a calm captain. During the strategic time-outs he is calm and spells out what he expects from players and keeps things simple, which is a requirement for a good captain. He is a learning captain and over a period of time he will be an amazing asset for the country.

Although we have seen some brilliant knocks from AB de Villiers the RCB lower-order is yet to contribute substantially this season. How have you been working on it?

We struggled a bit in the initial part this season. But actually if you see we are not getting much opportunity to bat. The top-order is so strong so we are not getting to bat. You can’t say we are fragile actually. We have not been getting many chances to bat as such. When we do get chances I think we will do well.

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