New Delhi: Veteran left-arm spinner Murali Kartik on Saturday retired from competitive cricket having played eight Tests and 37 ODIs for India between 1999 and 2007, taking 24 and 37 wickets respectively.
However, it was first-class cricket where Kartik was always a force to reckon with, taking 644 wickets in 203 games that also included stints with English county sides like Middlesex, Surrey and Somerset.
"I have decided to hang up my boots from all forms of competitive cricket but will honour my commitments for Kings XI Punjab during this year's Champions League T20. I want to thank everyone for their support and felt that it is the right time to go. I have enjoyed playing this game and it has given me a lot," Kartik said in a press conference here on Saturday.
"I would like to thank my parents and wife Shweta for their support, my coaches MP Singh, Gurcharan Singh and the greatest motivator of all Bishan Singh Bedi. Not to forget the influence that Maninder Singh had on my career," said one of the premier left-arm spinners in the world.
Kartik also thanked BCCI's president-in-exile N Srinivasan as he first got a chance to play competitive cricket for India Cements.
"I would like to thank N Srinivasan sir and Kasi sir (Kashi Viswanthan) for giving a chance to play Buchi Babu as a teenager for Vijay Sports Club, my first captain VB Chandrasekhar who gave me a lot of confidence."
Asked about his high point in international cricket, Kartik said, "The Mumbai Test [match haul of 7/76] where I won the Man-of-the-Match award will always be special as we were able to restrict an Australian side chasing 103 (107). Also when Sachin presented me with my India Test cap and Kapil paaji [then coach] presented the India hat."
Talking about his best captain, he said, "It's got to be Azzu bhai [Mohammed Azharuddin], who would tell you that as a bowler, you should be knowing what to do rather than me telling you."
He profusely thanked Indian Railways as a team that had a lot of intent despite limitations. "Winning the Ranji Trophy in 2001 gave us a lot of joy. We beat teams like Bengal and Tamil Nadu before beating Baroda in the final. We were defending a first-innings score of 270-odd and Baroda were over 100 for no loss. We won it from there and it was a special feeling.
"In Railways, we never had the facilities but we believed in each other and stood by one and another. Probably that's an ingredient that a learned man like Sanjay [Bangar] carried in his job when he decided to take up the Kings XI assignment," said Kartik, who will be seen more as a media pundit rather than getting into full-fledged coaching role.