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Always a ferocious competitor, Pune Warriors India spinner Murali Kartik is game for a battle any time. And it was a battle for him in PWI’s opening IPL 2012 encounter against a much-vaunted Mumbai Indians side. The Warriors from Pune did their best with the bat by reaching a modest 129 and then put in a battling display with the ball to restrict and comfortably see off the home side.
Kartik was at the centre of everything positive in Pune’s display and his evening’s work reached a crescendo once he out-foxed Dinesh Karthik to grab his second wicket of the match. A brief send-off to the MI batsman, and the 35-year-old Warrior had done his bit for his side to start with a bang in IPL 2012.
Kartik took some time out to talk to iplt20.com after his impressive performance.
Excerpts: On upsetting the odds by beating the Mumbai Indians
It’s a long race, a big two months and it is good to start well. We are glad that it has gone off well; the way we started — 27 for 3 — and we came back with 130 and then […] It was a very small step; there is a long way to go. On whether the team believed they could restrict the mighty MI batting line-up
Absolutely yes, because there was a little bit of spin in the wicket and we’ve got four spinners. Steven Smith didn’t even bowl today, so we had that confidence. They only key was to get to 130, so it was good that we got there. On their amped up bowling effort
It’s the entire support staff starting from Allan Donald; he has been talking about the attitude with which we go in, and obviously Sourav [Ganguly] has always carried that. Saying from a bowling point of view, it’s important to give that vibe to the opposition that you mean business. Especially in a T20 game because you could get into a defensive mindset and that’s what we are trying to do, and hopefully, we do that every game. On the aggression after getting Dinesh Karthik out
It was just that the previous ball he ran down [the wicket] and I told him, ‘don’t run down, you’ll get stumped’ and he did that on the fourth ball. So that’s exactly what I told him [after getting him stumped]. On what it’s like to be playing in the IPL
I’ve not been part of the Indian team for the last three years, and the IPL keeps my competitive juices flowing. This is the closest you get to international cricket; just the buzz. The fact that you are out there competing, and I have always been a competitor. County cricket does that for me as well. You are in there day in, day out; it makes a massive difference. On whether he still hopes for an India call-up
You never know. I still believe and have the confidence that I am still the best left-arm spinner [in India]. I know I am 35, but my hopes are always high. You never know.
Dirk Nannes is no ordinary cricketer. For this Victorian, hurling down a cricket ball is not the be all and end all of life. A professional skier, who participated in various World Cup skiing events for several years, Nannes embraced cricket as a career in 2005-06.
He played for Netherlands in the 2009 World Twenty20 [Nannes holds a Dutch passport], then turned up for Australia in an ODI and some T20Is. Now the multi-talented Nannes plies his trade in Twenty20 leagues around the world. His lethal combination of pace, variation, swing and accuracy makes him one of the most sought-after bowlers in the shortest format.
In the IPL, it’s the Royal Bangalore Challengers who reap the benefit of Nannes’s versatility. He missed almost the entire tournament in 2011 due to a side strain. He’s back this year, fitter, fresher and more determined. The cheerful fast bowler caught up with iplt20.com ahead of RCB’s first clash of the season, against the Delhi Daredevils.
Unfinished business in IPL
I am very excited to be back this season. I feel like I have unfinished business; it was very disappointing to get injured last year and miss so much time. But I am back, and hopefully, I can put myself on the park much more than I did. The perils of being a Twenty20 specialist
I think the hard part of doing what I do is the off season. For [us] people, who just play T20 cricket, we don’t have a home base. It’s okay at the moment because I am in the middle of my season. The tough time for us is when it gets to November and there aren’t any T20 competitions. So it’s hard to not detrain and keep getting those miles under your belt that you need.
Every team needs a balanced attack; I think that’s something we’ve struggled with in the past. We’ve always been able to make 200 runs, [but] struggled to restrict teams. We’ve missed a fourth and fifth bowler I guess. I think Vinay fills a massive hole for us in that regards. Time for the bowlers to step up
The bowlers have probably let the side down in the last little while because we’ve been letting teams get 200 or 210. But we’ve been fortunate to have a batting line-up that just comes out and scores the runs. We can’t, as a bowling unit, rely on that happening always. As a team, we’ll be able to bowl better this time. I am looking forward to the entire team getting us to the final, and not just our batting. Everyone has a job to do. The spin twins, Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori
Given the quality and the number of overseas player we have, it’s going to be difficult to fit Murali, Vettori and Nannes in the same team. So, I’m not sure if I’ll ever bowl with them. But I am sure it’s going to be great having them around. Having people like that around is invaluable for the team. The toughest nut to crack
The best batsman in the world right now is Virat Kohli, and fortunately he is in our team. He has had a phenomenal run of form. In general, I tend to struggle with people with fast wrists. Brendon McCullum has played very well against me. Jayawardene and Sangakkara too are excellent. There are a lot of players.
The Chris Gayle factor
I am not too bothered about Chris Gayle; I’ve gotten him out every time I’ve played him.