New Delhi: Mumbai Indians' Dinesh Karthik firmly believes that he has the ability to play for India as a specialist batsman and he is confident of delivering the goods when he gets another chance at the highest level.
"I have always had the confidence in my batting abilities. I have played as a batsman for India earlier also and I can deliver as a specialist batsman when I get an opportunity once again," said Karthik, who has so far scored 254 runs in five matches with a strike rate of nearly 150.
For him, the main motivation to do well in the IPL is the fact that every team has quality international fast bowlers.
"You look at teams and you will find that there are three international bowlers in each team. Tomorrow, if I do well against Morne Morkel, it will be a huge morale booster. Similarly, when we play against Sunrisers, you get to face Dale Steyn," Karthik explained.
The 'keepers slot is sealed for atleast a few more years as Mahendra Singh Dhoni is going to stay at the helm which means that he might have to be an outfielder. But Karthik is game about that.
"I don't need to stand in the outfield during IPL in order to play for India. In any case, if Aditya Tare plays for MI, I will certainly be in the outfield. In any case, I have been an outfielder when I played for Kings XI Punjab," said Karthik.
The 27-year-old thanked MI coach John Wright, mentor Anil Kumble and skipper Ricky Ponting for trusting him with the No 3 slot.
"I am thankful that the MI team management showed faith in me. It helps when you bat at No 3. Not only because of the number of balls you face but also with the quantum of runs that you can score. If you bat lower down the order in T20, then you don't get too many deliveries. Also the strike-rate becomes very crucial."
While he is happy with his consistency, Karthik is hopeful that Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting will fire as opening combination.
"True, that we didn't have great starts but we all know that what they are capable of."
About Delhi Daredevils, who have completed a double hat-trick of losses, Karthik said, "Daredevils haven't played to their potential so far but are a good team. For us, it is important to look at our strengths and weaknesses rather than focus on them. We have played some good cricket and some ordinary cricket so far."
Meanwhile, off-spinner Johan Botha in a roundabout manner admitted that like it or not, Kevin Pietersen's absence has really hurt the balance of the side.
"I wouldn't just point it at one man, we still have some really good other players international and Indian players who haven't just fired yet. KP was the one who put the foot down and took the team forward," Botha admitted.
Former T20 captain of South Africa wants someone to raise his hand and do a 'KP' this season.
"That's what you are looking for now again hopefully one of the guys can fire for us again put in that special performance but Kevin Pietersen is one of the best players in the world at the moment and you are not going to replace him he is too good for that. We are all going to miss him but it's a great opportunity for someone else to step up."