Talking to Jagran Post, the 37-year-old bowler said he is hopeful of Punjab franchise, whose best finish is a third place in the inaugural competition in 2008, giving its best performance in the seventh season of IPL beginning in UAE from April 16.

“We live on hope, don’t we? Kings XI has put together a new and strong team we have lots of hope this time and that is an important thing. If we lose hope then everything is lost. I am pretty sure, though it is tough to predict anything in this format, we will do really well this time,” the spinner said.  

Commenting on reports that Kings XI is the strongest side this season, Kartik said the game of cricket is not played on papers and added that it is tough to predict a winner.

“Sometimes in IPL you get fourteen games initially and you are always on run travelling from one place to another. So, it is tough to predict a winner. You can just hope and pray. We hope to start on a good note,” he added.

When asked about who according to him could be a game-changer for KXIP, Kartik said the new Punjab side has got many quality players who can deliver at crucial moments and can win matches single handedly.

“Actually, we have got lots of match winners this time. I would be doing injustice to anyone if I name just one player. We have got Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Perera and lots of young Indian cricketers like Sandeep Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishi Dhawan. So, there are lots of exciting players and it makes a very good group put together,” he added.

Kartik, who has played county cricket for almost nine years during which he represented sides like Middlesex and Somerset, said he is ready to face the challenge of being the only specialist spinner in his team and wants to utilize his vast experience of playing with international players.

“Playing with international players is not new for me and there are lots of players whom I have played with but IPL-7 will give me a chance to reunite with Virender Sehwag after a while as we are out of Indian team from quite some time and he was playing for Delhi Daredevils and I was playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore. And then there is Cheteshwar Pujara as well who is from RCB,” said Kartik.  

Unlike other players who hope to make a comeback into national squad by performing well in this format of cricket, Kartik feels the success in IPL cannot get you a berth in the Indian squad.  

“I don’t think IPL should be the benchmark or criteria to pick somebody in the Indian team but the fact that you are playing continuously and constantly gives you the hope. Let us see if it happens,” said Kartik.
The left-arm spinner feels that spot-fixing controversy, which hit the last edition of the IPL, will not dampen the spirit of players.

“I don’t think these controversies are going to affect performance of individuals and we just look forward to play cricket. Other things are not in our control and we are not decision makers. So, all we know is to play cricket,” he said.

The seventh edition of IPL, scheduled from April 16 to June 1, will be jointly hosted by United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bangladesh and India.

UAE will stage the initial phase of the IPL tournament while Bangladesh has been kept on standby for some of the matches by the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI).

(Raghwendra Shukla/Abhay Shahi)

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