DateLine: 18th April 2009
A left-arm spinner in the classical mould, Murali Kartik has long been on the fringes of the national team. He has a high-arm action straight from the coaching manual, and possesses all the weapons in his armoury. But he hasn't always had the breaks, and has regularly played the understudy to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
Kartik forced his way into the Indian team in 1999-2000 after impressive performances in the domestic games, but didn't seem to enjoy Sourav Ganguly's confidence and was either used as a defensive option or underbowled. He made his mark as a one-day bowler against West Indies in 2002-03, consistently keeping the batsmen in check on flat pitches. However, his best moment clearly came at Mumbai, against Australia in 2004-05 when he ran through the Australian batting on a dustbowl, taking seven wickets in the match to bowl India to a famous win. However he got to play just one Test more before being consigned to the periphery. His stint with Middlesex in 2007, though, brought him back into contention and his 12 wickets at 20.75 from eight Pro40 games allowed him to break back into the Indian one-day side in the middle of the seven-match series against Australia in October 2007. He was part of Middlesex's Twenty20-winning squad in 2008 and, uniquely, the only player in the world to play in the IPL and Stanford 20/20 in the inaugural season.
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