When Shaun Udal leads his Middlesex side out at the Stanford Cricket Stadium in Coolidge, Antigua against England on the 26th October in the cash-bash Stanford Super Series, one name in the team-sheet will stand out prominently to Indian fans. Murali Kartik, the left-arm spinner will be the only Indian cricketer on show in the tournament and having helped his side to victory in the T20 Cup here in England, Kartik hopes for an impressive showing in the Caribbean.
"It will be a great moment for everyone associated with Middlesex. It's been a tough fight all the way through in the T20 Cup," Kartik told the Hindustan Times on the eve of his team's departure to Antigua. Their campaign starts off against England and a win against the reigning Stanford Champions, Trinidad and Tobago on the 27th October could see Middlesex earn $200,000.
Kartik played an instrumental role in Middlesex's fortunes in the tournament combining effectively with skipper and offie Shaun Udal. On his bowling partner, Kartik said, "It's been fantastic. Shaun is a wonderful bowler with years of experience. And I have always been bowling well with spinners at the other end. Even when I played for India, I was very effective bowling with Bhajji. The point with Shaun is that we react wonderfully to each other's bowling and think differently, but bowl similarly. That's been the key to our partnership for Middlesex."
It’s not just the money in the Caribbean that Kartik will get a shot at, but also the Champions League T20, with Middlesex qualifying by winning the T20 Cup in England. "It will be a wonderful experience to be a part of the Champions League, especially representing a club like Middlesex back home in India. We not only represent the club, but also the country. I am sure people back home will be excited to see us in the competition too," he said.
At a time when Indian cricket is seeing a healthy competition among spinners, Kartik, Indian cricket's eternal comeback-man hoped to don Indian colours once again. "It was tough to miss out on selection. Especially, when I was bowling well last season in the home series against Australia and Pakistan. But as it's always been the case with me, one series I am in and the next one, I am not quite there. I also had a freakish injury on the eve of selection for the South Africa series. But I am confident of bowling well and making a comeback," he said.