For Murali Kartik, the process of staging a comeback continues.
The left-arm spinner does not remember the number of times he has been dropped from the National team and recalled. He, actually, does not want to remember. Who would like to remember why he was shown the door after having finished ‘man of the match.’ The next match he did not figure in the team.
But the affable Kartik has not allowed these adversities to influence his cricket. His passion is undeterred and the motivation to script yet another comeback as fierce as always.
“There is no greater joy than playing for your country,” says Kartik, just back from England after a stint with Middlesex.
For five seasons now, Kartik has played as a professional for Middlesex. The next year, however, he would be representing Somerset. Having finished second in the national averages, a tally of 34 wickets from 300-odd overs, Kartik accepted the change in county in the right spirit.
Shaun Udal, a 40-year-old off-spinner, has taken over as captain of Middlesex. “The team’s dynamics have changed. I went as the only overseas player, and a spinner. Now that Shaun has become the captain, the team won’t really need a second spinner at Lord’s, said Kartik, who was also approached by Lancashire for next season.
Reflecting on his performance this summer, Kartik observed, “The county standards have improved. There is a place for a quality spinner. It helps you develop as a cricketer because the playing surfaces tend to change in nature as the season progresses.
“Personally, I feel county cricket is a must. You grow as a player because of the experience that you gain in English conditions.”
Kartik, 33, has always done well against Australia and counts his chances as ‘bright’ against the team when it visits India later this year. “I still think I am decent enough cricketer to make a comeback. I am still the best spinner after Anil (Kumble) and Harbhajan (Singh).
“I am sure things would change and hope people look at me differently. I have never had any problems being rated the third best spinner in the country (after Kumble and Harbhajan).”
Now that Kumble has retired, the experienced Kartik, with 15 first-class and 10 international seasons under his belt, is the most senior spinner in the country.
“Cricket is getting tougher no doubt but I am fit and I am motivated to go on. Every season tests you a lot now. It is challenging but very enjoyable.”