Former Somerset player, Murali Kartik, the Indian left-arm spinner, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. He played for the cider county in 2010 and 2011 and we enjoyed subsequent appearances in the CB40 and T20 Finals in both seasons he was with us.
He represented a few clubs and was well travelled. Elsewhere in this country Kartik also played for Middlesex (with whom he won the 2008 T20 title), Surrey and Lancashire. In the IPL he played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors and was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 auction. Whilst officially retiring, Murali will be available to play for Kings XI in the Champions League later this year.
Kartik’s first-class career, which began in 1996, spanned more than 17 years. He played eight Tests, 37 ODIs and one Twenty20 international for India. He never enjoyed a sustained run in the Test team due to the presence of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
You could sum up Kartik’s Somerset career as one fine and one not-so-fine season. In 2010, when Somerset finished joint top of the Championship with the same points haul as eventual champions Notts, Kartik took 45 wickets @ 19.60 with a best bowling performance of 6 for 42. This was one of five 5 wicket hauls in the season. The following season he acquired 26 wickets @ 34.34 with a best of 6 for 115, his only 5 wicket haul that season.
In T20 Cricket, in 2010 he took 13 wickets @ 30.92 (economy 6.59) and enjoyed a slightly better 2011 with 17 wickets @ 20.76.
I have to say I liked Kartik when he was with us. He was wholehearted on the field and a pleasant man off it. We relied on his experience many times and he was always quick to offer Tres a word of advice. I recall one T20 game at home to Gloucestershire when we looked doomed to defeat and ultimate elimination in the competition when Kartik constantly rallied the troops with encouragement and was an almost lone voice at times. We won and made Finals Day. We can remain grateful for some excellent spells in the Championship that turned games in our favour too.
That said I was not surprised when Rose did not invite Kartik back for 2012 and he headed off to Surrey instead. It is unfortunate that Kartik will be mainly remembered by Somerset supporters for his behaviour on his return to Taunton as a Surrey player. Clearly believing he had something to settle Kartik was very loud in his celebration of wickets taken, particularly when he trapped the very likeable Hildy leg before, and later “ran out” Alex Barrow who was backing up too far. This action created a very hostile atmosphere in the ground and Surrey were booed off the field. Some fans are never likely to forgive Kartik for this.
I recall Darren Veness tweeting that night that Somerset supporters should first and foremost remember the commitment Kartik gave the county when he was one of us (something like that anyway). Let’s hope when the dust settles we all do.
I wish Murali Kartik well in what he does next.