Kartik Murali – A rare gem
India has been home to several spin bowlers, some prospered in their career, some fell short in the race. However, if there was to be a third kind, it would, by all means include Kartik Murali – one of India’s best spinners whose key years were overshadowed by the presence of other greats in the Indian team.
For the most part of his cricketing career, Kartik was a third-choice spinner who would only be called upon in case of injuries to regular players like Anill Kumble or Harbhajan Singh. His classic left-arm spin bowling with a high-arm action was a striking feature, though that wasn’t enough to win the confidence of selectors to grant him a regular spot. Impressive domestic performances led to a call-up in the Indian Test side in 1999-2000, but Kartik was still the most underbowled player in the team. In ODIs, he would regularly keep the batsmen in check on flat tracks.
Kartik’s moment of fame came in 2004-05, when he ran through the Australian side on a minefield, bagging 7 wickets in the match to guide India to a famous victory. A dip in form then ensued and he was once again pushed to the sidelines. Despite his sporadic appearances for India at the international level, Kartik enjoyed his stints in county cricket as an overseas player, especially with Middlesex. He was part of Middlesex’s T20 winning side in 2008 and had considerable success later at Somerset, followed by Surrey.
Kartik will always be remembered as one of the gems of India’s cricketing folklore, probably just born in the wrong era.
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