Kartik Murali: ‘It pains to see so many people struggling’

The former India left-arm spinner says it’s a luxury to be at home when there are hundreds of homeless stranded all over India.

Kartik Murali...“I just want to appeal to people to stay at home. Please.”   -  Shanker Chakravarty

For a man used to a life “living out of a suitcase,” former India spinner Kartik Murali has “adapted” to a life indoors. The cricketer has lost little time in accepting the situation and also strictly adhering to the demands made by the authorities for the sake of people in the country.

“This is something that has never happened in our life and hopefully it should not happen in anybody’s life. Can we fret about it? Can we fume about it? Do we have control over it? From day one I never panicked. It was an acceptance of the extraordinary circumstances. Focus was on what the ways are to curb it now that the outbreak has happened. I had no idea because I am not a scientist. I have accepted it. I have been an outdoor person, golf, cricket, travelling, but not any more. For the sake of this world, I have to stay indoors. I may miss my golf but that is the smallest thing in the larger scheme of my responsibilities towards the society and the situation which the planet is going through.”

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With an aggregate of 644 wickets from 203 first-class matches, Kartik, 43, has a rich experience of the game. “It is a luxury to be at home when you hear of hundreds of homeless stranded all over the country. There would be issues to sort out in times to come but presently the challenge is to protect yourself and others. It pains all of us to see so many people struggling. To me the most important thing is to stay at home.”

“I am shocked to see people venturing out for walks as if these are normal times. If you want to walk why can’t you within your house? There is a compelling reason why the authorities want us to say at home. People have to realise that this is an enemy which moves in stealthily. You don’t know how it will come, from where it will come. If you have a bed and a home, just stay at home. You can read, connect with friends, family and yourself. You can do what you could not for so many years,” Kartik said in a chat with Sportstar.

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‘Prayers can move mountains’

He spoke of his “respect” for people working to keep others safe. “My heart goes out to the health workers. To the doctors. To all the people providing essential things by risking their safety. We have to thank them. I pray for them daily. I have firmly believed that prayers and faith can move mountains. We have to be in the house for the sake of people who are working to keep us safe. We have to strengthen the hands of the government,” said Kartik, who revealed how he was looking after the families of the three helps employed by him.

Injuries in the past helped him cope with the lockdown phase. “I have had so many injuries which kept me in isolation. When I had my knee and shoulder operated I could not move out. I once got hit in Pakistan and I had a jaw-bone surgery. Once I was on the bed for two months. The back injury kept me out of the 2001 V. V. S. Laxman-Harbhajan Singh series (against Australia). All those occasions were spent at home.”

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A voracious reader, like cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, W. V. Raman and Deep Das Gupta, Kartik has a few books to finish. “I am currently reading The Lone Empress on the life of Jayalalithaa. Next will be Half-Lion on P. V. Narasimha Rao. I have one more to read – Macbeth by Jo Nesbo. I have to watch some movies. We can all find ways to be busy even when confined indoors. I just want to appeal to people to stay at home. Please.”

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