Murali Kartik a classic bowler born at the wrong era

Murali Kartik
Murali Kartik was born at the wrong era.

Murali Kartik was a bowler is another most unlucky cricketer who played for India. He has a high-arm classic left-arm action according to the coaching manual. Kartik had all the weapons that a spinner needs to be successful in international cricket.

But Murali Kartik hasn’t always had it easy. Because unfortunately, throughout most of his prime years, the selectors overlooked Kurali Karthik because of the presence of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. So he did not get enough chance for the Team India. 

Murali Kartik: Unlucky Cricketer

Early Life of Murali Kartik

Murali Kartik was born on 12 September 1976 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He started playing cricket as a medium pacer. But later he shifted to spine bowling. Kartik grew up idolising Bishen Singh Bedi, Maninder Singh, and Venkatapathy Raju, three former Indian orthodox spinners. 

Murali Kartik started playing junior-level cricket in Delhi. In December 1992, he made his first appearance for the Delhi Under-16 team, taking a match total of 10/74 and scoring 52 not out in an innings victory over Himachal Pradesh. In the next match against Haryana, he took 2/91, but due to his age, he was no longer eligible to play for the Under-16s. 

He was unable to break into the Delhi Under-19s. In the next two years, he did not play any youth domestic matches. Then he joined the Railways and broke into their Under-19 team. During the 1994–95 season, he took 24 wickets at 14.58 for his new team, including a 5-28 haul against Vidarbha.

After taking five wickets at 25.00 in four matches, he was selected to the Under-19 Central Zone team for the zonal one-day tournament. Kartik had a good season for Railways Under-19s the following season, finishing the competition with 38 wickets at 18.94 in seven matches.

As a result of his performances during the season, Kartik was called up to the Indian Under-19 team for an international series against their South African counterparts. In the junior Test, he took 4/40, dismissing South Africa for 159 runs to secure a 19-run lead. In the second innings, he took 3/30 as South Africa were bowled for 107 in pursuit of 277.

Murali Kartik in Domestic Cricket

Because of his performance in Under 19, Murali Kartik was promoted to the senior level the following season, 1996–97. He made his Ranji Trophy debut for Railways. Kartik took 2/27 from 10 overs in his first match, a List A match against Madhya Pradesh, but was unable to prevent a four-wicket loss.

The next day, he made his first-class debut against the same opposition, bowling 16 overs for a total of 1/18 in a draw. The following season he got only 14 wickets at 18.42 in four matches. It was a bad season for Murali Kartik. He was dropped from the team because of his poor performance. 

 Despite the season’s unimpressive show, Murali Kartik was chosen for an India A tour of Pakistan A in February and March of 1998. In the 1998–99 Ranji Trophy, he was more consistent, taking 29 wickets in seven matches at an average of 19.3 to finish as the 13th top wicket-taker.

Murali Kartik had a productive 1999–2000 season. He played for India A against touring New Zealand. Then selected for an India A tour of the West Indies. He got a good number of wickets in domestic cricket. 

Murali Kartik for India

Murali Kartik’s performance earned him a place in the Indian Board president’s XI for the tour match against the visiting South Africans before the Tests. He had a match total of 2/122, which was good enough to earn him a spot on the national team. Murali Kartik made his test debut against South Africa in Wankhede stadium, Mumbai. He was selected as the second spinner. India batted first and made 225 runs, with Kartik scoring 14 before being bowled by Shaun Pollock.

He then took 2/28 from 18 overs as the Indians kept the tourists to 176 runs. Murali Kartik scored only two runs before being caught behind by Pollock in the second innings, and the team was all out for 113. In the second innings, Murali Kartik got 1/50 as South Africa fights their way to a 163-run mark with four wickets in hand. In the second test at Bengaluru Kartik took 3/123, scoring a duck and two runs. India was defeated by an innings in that match. Murali Kartik had a reasonable experience, taking six wickets at 33.50. 

Murali Kartik was elected for the first intake of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore in 2000. However, his tenure was cut short, along with Harbhajan’s, when the director, Hanumant Singh, fired them due to disciplinary concerns.

Murali Kartik began the 2000–01 season in excellent form as he sought to keep his Test spot. Kartik then played in two Tests in India, against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, with match totals of 1/42 and 2/66, respectively. In the nine-wicket victory against Bangladesh, he scored 43 runs, but he was not required to bat in the seven-wicket victory over Zimbabwe. Sourav Ganguly, the new captain who took over after Sachin Tendulkar left, did not have much faith in him, only giving him short but regular periods.

Murali Kartik was dropped from the team after the first Test against Zimbabwe, and he didn’t get the chance to prove his skipper wrong right away. Kartik was playing domestic cricket. The selectors were unhappy with these performances.

READ: Most Wickets For Indian Bowlers In A Calendar Year

Despite Kumble’s shoulder injury, Murali Kartik was left out of India’s Border Gavaskar Trophy match against Australia in 2001. Harbhajan Singh was returned and took 32 wickets at the age of 17 to help India win the series and secure his position as India’s leading spinner alongside Anil Kumble.

Kartik got off to a good start in the 2001–02 season in domestic cricket. Kartik made his One Day International (ODI) debut at the end of the season; he was thrashed by the Zimbabwean batsmen, conceding 47 runs without taking a wicket from eight overs.

Murali Kartik has spent a large part of the decade as India’s third-choice Test spinner, behind Kumble and Harbhajan, only appearing until they were injured or when India selected three spinners. Kartik was chosen for an India team at the end of the 2001–02 season for India A tour of South Africa. He played well in that tour. 

Following his excellent record in domestic ODI games, Kartik was given opportunities in the ODI format for India. Where he played in seven successive matches against the West Indies. After going wicketless in the first match, he finally got his first ODI wicket in the third match. After Anil Kumble withdrew, Kartik was selected into the Test squad to tour New Zealand in late 2002, but he only bowled one over in the warm-up match, in which he was hammered for 23 runs.

He then sat on the sidelines as India only used one spin bowler in the Tests, which were played on green, pace-friendly pitches. Due to his poor performance against the West Indies, he was left out of the 2003 Cricket World Cup squad, with Harbhajan and Kumble being picked. 

READ: Ten Players Captain Virat Kohli Ignored

While the World Cup was on, Kartik travelled the West Indies with India A, playing five first-class matches against domestic teams. He bowled 14 wickets, including 5/105 against Barbados and 4/57 against Trinidad & Tobago. 

Kartik took 2/118 and 2/41 for India A against the touring New Zealanders at the beginning of the 2003–04 season. But he was ignored for the Test series against the tourists. However, he was selected into the ODI team and made semi-regular appearances against New Zealand and Australia during the TVS Trophy, fighting with Kumble and Harbhajan for a regular spot in the team. He took 4 wickets in the fourth match in that tournament. 

Kartik made his first appearance outside India in Test cricket in 2003–04, when he came in to replace of injured Harbhajan midway through the Australian tour. He came into the playing eleven in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, when India played with two spinners for the first time in the series. In a high-scoring draw, his performance was not so good, he took 1/211 from 45 overs. Kartik also played the VB triangular ODI series. He played in four of India’s ten matches. 

READ: Karun Nair Scored 300 In Test, But Captain Kohli Ignored

Despite his performance in Australia, Murali Kartik was retained for the ODI tour of Pakistan. Kartik took five wickets at 32.80 with a 5.46 economy rate. He was featured in three of the five matches, all of which India won. Kartik was also in the Test team but did not play since India chose to field only Kumble in the series, which they won 2–1.

In 2004-05 Australia was touring India. When Harbhajan was ill before the third Test. Murali Kartik was given an opportunity in the Nagpur Test. Where he took 3/57 and 2/74 as India lost by 342 runs, the first home series to Australia since 1969–70.

Harbhajan Singh returned for the last Test in Mumbai. India fielded three spinners, so Murali Kartik got the chance to play that test. He took 4/44 and 3/32 in a man-of-the-match performance that helped India win by 13 runs. Kartik played the final of his eight Tests against South Africa in Kanpur, taking 2/93, before being dropped after India decided to only use two spinners in the following matches.

In 2005, when Kumble was dropped by newly appointed coach Greg Chappell because of his lack of athleticism. Chappell also introduce experimental rules that allowed the use of one substitute. So it was opening an extra slot in the team. Because of that Kartik had more opportunities in the ODI arena.

He got off to a slow start under the new system, taking 1/52 from nine overs in a win over a depleted Zimbabwe team. Kartik also was selected to the Indian One-Day International team for the 2005 home summer, and he appeared in ten of the twelve ODIs that India hosted in late 2005. He got off to a good start in Nagpur, with 3/48 in a 152-run beating of Sri Lanka, and went on to end the series with eight wickets at 30.25, appearing in six of the seven games.

However, his form decreased in the South African series, as he went wicketless. Midway through the series against Australia in late 2007, Murali Kartik was recalled to the ODI team in place of the underperforming Powar. When he returned for the fourth match at Mohali, he played his first ODI in 18 months. As Australia faltered in a tight run chase, he took 1/48 and gave only two runs in the 48th over, giving India their first series win. In the next two matches, which Australia won, Kartik only got one wicket.

Murali Kartik bowled career-best in the next match. In the seventh and final match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, taking a career-best 6/27 from 10 overs. Australia was all out for 193. At one point in that match, Australia was 2/117 in 19.4 overs. Brad Hodge and Andrew Symonds were both dismissed from consecutive balls by Kartik. He won’t achieve his hat-trick, but he removed Brad Haddin from the first ball in the 32nd over, followed by Brad Hogg and Brett Lee from the fourth and fifth balls.

Murali Kartik missed out on the hat-trick twice in that match but git six wickets. In reply, India was 8/143, until Kartik scored an unbeaten 21 from 34 balls in an unbroken 52-run stand with Zaheer Khan. That’s bringing India to a two-wicket victory. Murali Kartik was given the honour of being named man of the match. 

Murali Kartik made his T20 international debut that year against Australia. He bowling figure 0/27 in four overs. this was his only T20 appearance for India.

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Murali Kartik was only selected for the first, third, and fifth matches in the next series against Pakistan when he got two wickets at an average of 68.00 and an economy rate of 5.23. As a result, Murali Kartik was dropped from the ODI tour of Australia in favour of Chawla. After that, he never played for India. 

Murali Kartik in IPL

In the inaugural 2008 Indian Premier League, the Kolkata Knight Riders purchased Kartik. He appeared in six games, getting three wickets at 42.33, however, he was dropped because of an economy rate of more than eight runs per over. All of this happened in a single match, which he won with a score of 3/17.

Murali Kartik played in ten matches during the 2009 IPL season in South Africa, taking four wickets at 50.25. Though he was one of the most economical bowlers, surrendering only 5.91 runs per over. He had also played IPL for a team like Pune Warriors, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kings XI Punjab.

Team Played

India, India Green, Kolkata Knight Riders, Middlesex, Somerset, Pune Warriors, Surrey, Central Zone, Railways, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Virgo Super Kings.

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