I'm going there to enjoy my cricket, and nothing else. I don't think I need to prove a point to anyone at this stage of my career, says the left-arm-spinner in an interview to the Indian Express.
Murali Kartik, who has been dogged by injuries at crucial moments in his career, is heading to England to play for Middlesex while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha goes with the Indian team to Bangladesh for the biggest assignment of his fledgling career. Kartik spoke to The Indian Express about how he has coped with the high and lows of his career.
You head to the county circuit to force a comeback once again?
• I'm going there to enjoy my cricket, and nothing else. I don't think I need to prove a point to anyone at this stage of my career. I was picked for the Indian Test team, and I wasn't considered for the Bangladesh ODI series only because I wouldn't be fit enough when the tournament starts. So the question of forcing a comeback doesn't arise. I had signed a contract with Middlesex but then the IPL happened and I had to stay back till it got over. As soon as I get a Team India call - hopefully it would be for the Sri Lanka series - I will come back. But I'm not heading to England thinking that I'll remind everyone of what I'm capable.
If the board didn't consider you because you were unfit, then how are you leaving for England to play?
•My contract was signed last season and Middlesex had obtained permission long back. Physio Andrew Leipus still feels I need 15 days to recover completely. He has sent my report to the Middlesex physio for reference, so let's see, as of now I'm just hoping to play the match on June 6 if the report is okay.
You career has always been full of ups and downs, but the last few months must've been really frustrating?
• It's funny actually. Every time I am out of the team it's not because of my lack of performance but something else. Once I twist my ankle over the rope in a freak incident - like when I was tipped to play in the Test XI against South Africa - and then I injure the same ankle before an ODI series. It's really frustrating because I have done really well every time through my comebacks.
Given the frequent highs and lows, how do you motivate yourself?
•There is one question you need to ask yourself first every time: Are you good enough to play at that level? If you can answer that in the affirmative, then automatically all your steps take you towards that goal. To play for the country is the biggest motivation one needs.
You have a fan base at Middlesex after just one full season. What does it feel like to be appreciated outside the country?
•I take great pride that I'm a Team India cricketer playing in the county circuit. The admiration, the respect you get from people outside is fabulous. This time, there's only one overseas professional allowed and it means a lot to me that I was selected.
Finally, any word on Pragyan Ojha, who has been drafted in your absence?
•Ojha has been rewarded for his performances in domestic tournaments and I wish him luck. He's young, and hopefully he'll do a good job in Bangladesh.