India spinner Murali speaks out over his county exit
MURALI Kartik has moved to set the record straight over his departure from Somerset – claiming he told the county in August that he wanted to stay at Taunton, but they kept him hanging on.
The Indian spinner, who has left Somerset after two summers, is being heavily linked with a move to Surrey. But he is upset at the way many Somerset supporters have perceived his exit – with some using online forums to question the motives behind the 35-year-old's departure.
Kartik contacted the Evening Post from his home in New Delhi to put across his version of events, which include the admission that he initially wanted to quit county cricket altogether and return to India for the sake of his wife's happiness.
But, after Somerset sent his wife, Shweta, flowers and a card, the slow left-armer claims the couple had a change of heart and he told director of cricket Brian Rose a few days before the Friends Life t20 finals day in August that he wanted to remain with the county in 2012.
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"I told Brian towards the end of August that I wanted to stay at Somerset and he said he would get back to me within two days," said Kartik, who would not be drawn on whether he had agreed to sign for Surrey.
"But he didn't speak with me until we had reached the main stage of the Champions League t20 in Hyderabad – about 24 days later. By that stage, it was too late and we had made up our minds. I couldn't risk waiting all that time for Somerset to potentially say 'sorry, we don't want you, we've found another overseas player'." Kartik acknowledged that Rose tried to initiate negotiations about next summer at least four times during the season – but, each time, he put the talks off because he wanted to ensure his wife was happy to stay in England. "Your wife's happiness is essential," he said. "She suggested she wanted to stay in Delhi next year. But she came round to the idea of staying another year in Taunton because of the love and warmth she received from everyone.
"I loved playing for Somerset and I have never played in front of a better set of members in county cricket. So it hurts that people are slating me. I don't care if people want to say I am a good bowler or a useless bowler – but I do care when people start to assassinate my character without knowing the facts."
Somerset's initial plan was for Kartik to return from July 1, with Rose opting to sign Kieron Pollard and Roelof van der Merwe for Twenty20 cricket, which would have given Kartik extra time off after the Indian Premier League. But his gripe, he claims, is that by the time he told the club he was ready to commit, they did not initiate any form of talks for more than three weeks.
"It was taken out of my hands, because they didn't get back to me," said Kartik. "I kept waiting, kept waiting and kept waiting, but nothing happened. My decision was not taken at the drop of a hat.
"I made a decision, because I had to take charge of my own life, but it hurts to read the comments people have made about my character – creating a picture that I am dishonest.
"I gave 100 per cent every time I went on the field for Somerset and now I am being made to look like a villain who says one thing and does another. I have nothing against anyone at Somerset – but I do not want to be maligned by people who think I did not want to come back."
After Kartik's exit was confirmed, Rose – who, when contacted, did not wish to be drawn into a public spat with his former spinner – announced he had signed Van der Merwe.