By Amlan Chakraborty
LEEDS, England (Reuters) – Electing to bat after winning the toss is fast becoming a ritual at the Cricket World Cup but India are just as comfortable chasing, batsman Dinesh Karthik said on Friday.
Captains have begun talking about the perils of chasing on growingly sluggish tracks and the toss is becoming increasingly vital as the tournament approaches its business end.
England’s comprehensive victory over New Zealand on Wednesday illustrated it perfectly as the hosts, 194-1 in 30 overs, finished on 305-8.
The Black Caps were bowled out for 186 and their captain Kane Williamson bemoaned how the Durham track had got slower and slower throughout the match.
India’s only loss, against England, also came when chasing with their middle-order batsmen struggling to get going on an Edgbaston track that slowed considerably.
“I think India as a team have been good chasers for a long time, we’re very confident of chasing,” Karthik said ahead of Saturday’s final group game against Sri Lanka.
“I think we as a team believe that we’re good chasers, because that’s what we do day in day out.
“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.”
The 34-year-old reckoned the pressure of the target and playing conditions combined to derail many chases.
“I think it’s a bit of both,” said the wicketkeeper who played his first World Cup match against Bangladesh on Tuesday, 15 years after his ODI debut, as a specialist batsman.
“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.”
Middle order has remained India’s soft underbelly but Karthik said he was fully aware of his role as the number seven batsman.
“I think they’ve been very clear on what my role has been. When I go in at number seven, I need to assess the situation of the game and then play accordingly,” he said.
“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.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Leeds; editing by Ed Osmond)