Kartik Murali: The standard of spin bowling has been dropping

Former India spinner Kartik, who is a popular commentator now, says V.B. Chandrasekhar and Bishan Singh Bedi inspired him to turn the cherry.

Kartik had guided Railways to the Ranji Trophy finals in 2000-01 and 2001-02.   -  FILE PHOTO/V. SUDERSHAN

 

Former India Test cricketer Kartik Murali on Saturday said that the standard of spin bowling has been on the decline and that spinners need to reinvent themselves.

"The standard of spin bowling has been dropping and I feel the reason is too much of T20 cricket," Kartik told Sportstar during an Instagram chat.

"Nowadays most of the spinners dart and don't flight the ball. The drift, the flight, the spin, making the batsmen feel and getting him out, they are all gone," he said.

Kartik, who scalped 644 First-class wickets from 203 matches felt that a captain plays an important role in shaping a spinner's career, especially in the initial stages of his career.

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"The late V.B. Chandrasekhar was so influential on me he made me feel like a match-winner. Bishan Singh Bedi also inculcated this. So did Abhay Sharma when I played for Railways. The kind of mind games, the ego games I learnt from him (Chandrasekhar) was brilliant. Once you are established then there is nothing to worry as you will get your field. But while growing up you need your captain's support," Kartik, who made his Test debut against South Africa in Mumbai in 2000, said.

A genuine left-arm orthodox spinner, Kartik didn't get his due as he represented India in just eight Test matches and 37 ODIs. However, the 43-year-old, who is now a regular in the commentary box, feels 'blessed' that he could don the national colours for nine years.

"1999-2008 is a fond memory. I didn't lose my competitive zeal and was playing County cricket. For a kid who never wanted to play cricket and wanted to become a genetic engineer to play for India was a bonus. To be praised by Michael Holding and other stalwarts was a bonus. Playing for the country for nine years is a blessing," he said.

Kartik revealed that getting dropped was a bitter pill to swallow. But, a piece of advice from a close friend helped him change his perspective.

"I was lucky as there were millions who were better than me. This also happened because of a very dear friend of mine, named Pratik. He felt the pain when I was dropped and he told me to be thankful and express the gratitude of what I have achieved. I am very religious and after getting dropped, I once brought the puja room down but once my friend spoke that was the last day of the bitterness," he said. 

Spending time on the sidelines, away from the national team was not easy and the former left-arm spinner said that it was batting great V.V.S. Laxman who convinced him to retire.

V.V.S. Laxman and Kartik Murali.   -  FILE PHOTO/K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

 

"It was horrible. I was third in the pecking order in the Indian team and I am not getting into the details there. I was the lone senior in Railways. Sanjar Bangar went, Kulamani Parida went and I had turned down offers to turn up as professional but I didn't want to leave Railways. My worst two months was when I was with IPL team Kings XI Punjab. It was then Laxman who had a word with my wife Shweta and he didn't want to see me like that.

"I spoke to Laxman and then the media broadcasting thing happened. It wasn't a tough decision to make but it did take me a while to make the decision. I thought it was better to go while playing well," he said.

Kartik, who had a fruitful stint in the County championship playing for Middlesex, Somerset, Lancashire and Surrey, said: "I always wanted to play County cricket. Bedi always used to say that you have not played cricket until you played in England. " 

Kartik also played a key role in Railways making the Ranji Trophy finals in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

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