'From where I sit, every tournament is important. One bad tournament and I will be way out. So, in every tournament I need to be at the top of my game and try to do as well as I can.'
Dinesh Karthik is aware that non-performance may result in him going off the radar but the wicket-keeper batsman says he would rather 'embrace' the pressure rather than run away from it.
Karthik has been around Indian cricket for long but has failed to cement his place in the side. The Tamil Nadu right-hander has always been the man to fall back upon when established stars are rested.
"From where I sit, every tournament is important. One bad tournament and I will be way out. So, in every tournament I need to be at the top of my game and try to do as well as I can," Karthik said on Saturday, on the eve of the Twenty20 tri-series final against Bangladesh, in Colombo.
"There is pressure but at where I am sitting, I need to be able to handle that pressure. I need to embrace it rather than run away from it or use it as an excuse. It doesn't matter whether I play this tournament, IPL or the England series, for me every match is important," he added.
Karthik is abreast of the tough competition in the Indian cricket team and said he needs to take every chance that comes his way.
"Opportunities are few and far in between. The competition in the Indian team is so strong that every time you get an opportunity you need to try and give your best. More importantly, I have to perform," he said.
"I am trying to do well in every match. I am not looking too far at the World Cup (next year). As of now from where I am, every match is important and I am trying to do my best."
India are up against a gutsy Bangladesh in Sunday's final but Karthik said they are well prepared to take on the Tigers, who are on a high following their thrilling win against Sri Lanka on Friday.
"Everybody has got a decent hit. Up to no. 6 everybody has batted. So this tournament has been good as everybody has been tested and I think we have done a fair job till now. Going into the final a lot of bases are covered for sure," he said.
"As a team they (Bangladesh) are known for that (fighting spirit). They really try hard. They are a team which achieved Test status not many years ago and they propelled forward in all formats of the game," he added. "They have done well for themselves, especially in sub-continent conditions. They are a very good team. I think we are trying to focus on our processes and routines, that has given us good results till now."
The spinners have been pretty successful in the tournament so far and Karthik said the key for a batsman against the slow bowlers is to have a positive frame of mind.
"Rotating strike is really important. It is always a little bit harder to rotate strike in these wickets. Odd ball turns while some balls go straight. That's the tricky part of both these wickets and that's why you have seen a lot of dot balls being played. The spinners have been using that and have been bowling pretty consistently with low economy rates," said the Tamil Nadu right-hander, who will be leading Kolkata Knight Riders in the upcoming 11th edition of the Indian Premier League.
"So the good thing to do against spinners is to have a positive mindset and look to score runs in every ball rather than looking to survive."
With Sri Lanka out of the final, a relatively empty stadium is likely to greet both the teams in the final and Karthik said crowd presence makes massive difference in a player's performance.
"I think it makes a massive difference. In international cricket you are used to a certain amount of crowd. That is one of the things which spurs you on. It has a massive effect on fielding in the second match we played. I think we fielded the poorest against Bangladesh. We dropped about five catches, we weren't the usual Indian team that's known for its fielding," he said.
"This has been the case for tri-series, so you don't see many tri-series because if the home team is not playing you tend to get a match with very little crowd. Tomorrow the home team is not playing so I don't know how many people are going to turn up. I wish they turn up in good numbers," Karthik concluded.