New Delhi: Spinner Murali Kartik said on Friday that he was bracing up to the challenge of being the only specialist spinner in the Kings XI Punjab for the upcoming IPL and wants to utilise his vast experience in the shortest format by playing the role of a mentor.
"I have played T20 across the world and have the experience of playing in different conditions. As the lone specialist spinner in the team I have an important role to play. I am looking forward to the challenge and hope to give my best," Kartik, who has played 142 T20 games, told PTI.
"We have Akshar Patel who is a young spin-bowling allrounder in the side. I am looking forward to nurture youngsters and mentoring them," he said.
The 37-year-old has played county cricket for almost nine years during which he represented sides like Middlesex and Somerset. Playing for his fourth IPL side, Kartik believed the Punjab franchise, whose best finish is a third place in the inaugural competition in 2008, has the firepower to go the distance in this season beginning in the UAE from April 16.
"In T20 cricket it is not easy to predict which team will win the competition. All teams will be competitive. What is important that we have a very balanced squad this time around. We have quality players who can deliver at crucial moments and hope to make the best of it," he said.
The last edition of the cash-rich league was marred by spot-fixing controversy and the left-arm spinner hoped that players will be more watchful in staying away from it.
"You just have to hope and pray that players don't fall to this pitfall. I am sure players are more aware about the evils now. They have to understand that nothing is bigger than the sport and they cannot cheat the game. You really don't want these things to happen. They are not good for the game," he said.
With many senior players hanging their boots after last season, Kartik felt he has more to offer to the game.
"Look, I don't put numbers to when I will stop playing. As long as it (the ball) is coming out well from my hand and I am enjoying my game, I will play. If I am fit to contribute to the team I see myself being on the field. After playing the game for so long I have a reputation to live up to and I work hard for it. As of now I am enjoying the game," he concluded.