Murali Kartik says that he isn't sure if the national selectors will even be aware about his rich haul of wickets for Somerset but he adds that he is still hopeful of a recall to the Indian team.
While the Indian spinners have struggled in Sri Lanka, a slow bowler who has been repeatedly ignored by Indian selectors, Murali Kartik is enjoying a highly successful stint with Somerset in the English county circuit.
He has been highest wicket-taker in the County Championship so far this season, despite playing just four of the nine games so far. He has picked up 31 wickets at 12.70 apiece, including 5 five-wicket hauls and twice picking up 10-wicket in a match.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kartik says that he isn't sure if the national selectors will even be aware about his rich haul of wickets for Somerset but he adds that he is still hopeful of a recall to the Indian team. Excerpts:
Somerset have won three out of four first-class games, all their 40 over matches and almost all their T20 fixtures since you got there. So how crucial do you think your contribution has been to this dream-run?
The only thing I can say is that Somerset as a club is a very strong side and they have always had brilliant players around. They have been a side, who have always been challenging in all the competitions and it's been no different this year.
You picked a majority of those 31 wickets at your home-ground in Taunton. How difficult has it been to cope with a venue with such short boundaries?
Yes, it is a challenge bowling at Taunton not only for the size of the boundaries but also because historically Taunton is considered one of the flattest wickets in England. So I knew what I was gearing up for when I decided to come over here. To be honest, I haven't done anything different, I have been bowling the same way I always have.
Do you think you force national selectors' attention now, especially considering the performances of the Indian spinners in Sri Lanka?
I don't know if they have noticed what I am doing or if anything that I do here gets mentioned in India. And even if they do notice, probably they turn a blind eye to it. I know what I dole out as a bowler. Throwing modesty out of the window, what I bowl is better than everyone else bar Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) or Anil bhai (Kumble). That's been a fact for many years and selectors are well aware of what I'm capable of. Also I think in India, the media tries to hype players they want to support and these selectors take a lot of note on that. Dinesh Mongia was picked as my replacement when I went for shoulder surgery with only 7 wickets to show from 11 games as a left-arm spinner.
What is your view about the disregard shown towards subcontinent spinners' performances in county cricket since English batsmen are not comfortable against spin?
I don't know who comes up with these theories that they can't play spin. All these grandma tales are outdated. Try bowling to a (Marcus) Trescothick or (Kevin) Pietersen in English conditions or for that matter anyone else. Yes, accepted that they play it differently to Indians, but haven't Vettori, Warne, Murali and Mendis troubled us while we are supposed to be superior players of spin.
Have you got over the hurt of being treated shabbily and are you still hopeful for yet another comeback?
I am definitely hopeful. That's why I have been playing non-stop cricket for the past so many years. And I can safely say that please find a better left-arm spinner and I shall stop playing. Yes it still hurts and always will, but I am not bitter and have never been. I'm just disappointed with the way it's panned out.
There has been a lot written about fast bowlers gaining a lot out of playing county cricket, Zaheer Khan for example. How important a platform has it been for you?
Without sounding cliched, I think playing everyday here is an experience in itself. As an overseas player, there is a lot at stake, including your own personal pride. To maintain your intensity, for six months is a big challenge. So if teams have been asking me to be their overseas player, I must be doing something right and Somerset want me to come back next year, which means I would have played seven years in a row in county cricket 14 back-to-back first-class seasons. I know I'm 33, but the point I want to prove is that I have been in good shape to sustain the intensity.