Stanford 20/20 for 20 November 5, 2008

Stanford could have been handled better - Kartik

Cricinfo staff

Murali Kartik is hoping for a recall to the national side © AFP

Murali Kartik, the Middlesex left-arm spinner, has said that the Stanford 20/20 Super Series, "for all its glitz and glamour", was hit by technical glitches, and that his team and Trinidad and Tobago were treated differently "like step-cousins" compared to England and Stanford Superstars, the other two sides in the competition.

Kartik finds himself in the unique position of being the only cricketer in the world to have played in both the IPL and the Stanford 20/20 Super Series, and is in line to complete a treble next month when he represents Middlesex in the inaugural Champions Twenty20 League. "It's feels strange and a bit funny. Surely, it's not something to be overtly proud of, but still it's something up your sleeve," Kartik told Cricinfo.

However, Kartik said "nothing can beat" another comeback to the Indian team for which he is "keeping fingers crossed".

Kartik, who many feel has been treated unfairly by the Indian selectors, has had an on-off international career since 2004, and last played for India during the 2007 ODI home series against Pakistan. He was subsequently picked for the Test series against South Africa early this year, only to be ruled out due to a freak ankle injury. "This time, for once in my life, I have been at the right place at the right time," Kartik said.

Now representing Railways at a Ranji Trophy game in Bangalore, Kartik said there were a few things that struck him as odd during the Stanford tournament last week. "For me, the Stanford series, for all the glitz and glamour, could have been handled better," he said. "There were a lot of technical glitches. The way the teams were treated was different. Trinidad and Middlesex were like step-cousins, compared to England and the Superstars. Besides, there was not even an inaugural function before an event of this magnitude, which struck me as strange."

Asked to pick a common strand from the IPL and the Stanford Super Series, the two most talked-about Twenty20 competitions this year, Kartik said, "The only thing in common, if I can joke about it, is the bowlers were getting hit.

"But seriously, the IPL is a massive thing. It's a world event that everyone wants to be part of. Even the guys who played for England in the Stanford series wanted to be part of it. It's become like the World Cup. It's got the cream of international cricket with the best young talent of India and abroad getting to play under one umbrella. The crowds have been overwhelming, too."

On the other hand, Kartik said, Stanford had more to do with the fact that the "ECB had to do something to keep their players happy".

"I wouldn't say that the quality of cricket was fantastic," he said. "Besides, in Antigua, it was only the US$20 million game that was of importance. Although England played us (Middlesex) and the Trinidad and Tobago once each, those games didn't make any difference. Technically, they were just warm-up games. We played the Stanford Superstars too, but it didn't make any difference whether we won or not."

The one big game in Antigua that Kartik was involved in was against Trinidad and Tobago for a winner-takes-all US$ 280,000. "But we dropped three crucial catches and we simply dropped the money," he said. "It was very disappointing because that money meant a lot for Middlesex."

Kartik is now looking forward to the Champions League, though he admits that Middlesex will virtually be fielding a second-string team due to the non-availability of five key players.

But according to him, playing for India is all that matters in the end. "You can play IPL, Stanford, Champions League and everything else under the sun. But there's no better feeling than playing for your country. I am keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping as I have always done, that something will happen."