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Karnataka captain Vinay hopeful of winning Ranji Trophy

Written by: Aprameya .C
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014, 13:16 [IST]
 
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Bangalore, Jan 27: Just over four years ago, R Vinay Kumar went through a heart-breaking experience as Karnataka lost to Mumbai by six runs in the Ranji Trophy final in Mysore.

Back then, a young side, led by Robin Uthappa, came very close to ending State's decade long wait for India's premier domestic trophy. But Mumbai, with a never-say-die approach denied the hosts.

Vinay hopeful of winning Ranji Trophy

Now, Vinay is captain of Karnataka and has a great chance to make amends for that disappointment. On January 29, in Hyderabad, he will walk out for the toss against Maharashtra in 2013-14's Ranji Trophy title clash.

"That final (Mysore) was very close. Compared to then, we have a better chance of winning this time," Vinay told ThatsCricket in an exclusive interview.

Apart from Vinay and Robin, four others from the current squad saw the trophy let slip out of their hands at Gangotri Glades ground.

The quartet of fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun, wicketkeeper and current vice-captain CM Gautam, batsmen Manish Pandey and Amit Verma were pushed to runner-up slot by Wasim Jaffer and his men.

On that day (January 14, 2010), Vinay was the ninth man dismissed in chase of 338.

"This season, we have dominated all teams. Even in matches when we were down, we have bounced back. That is really satisfying," said Vinay.

The 29-year-old Vinay had to miss three matches this season due to India duty.

One of the main reasons for Karnataka's success so far has been their fast bowling. Mithun, Vinay, HS Sharath and Ronit More have shared 102 wickets. This season, Karnataka won six matches in a row. The sequence was halted in semi-final when they drew against Punjab due to bad weather.

Mithun leads the tally with 36 victims followed by Sharath with 32. Vinay has 22 and More 12. Stuart Binny, the fast bowling all-rounder, who is currently in New Zealand in India ODI squad, too scalped 11.

For the final, the team will miss Sharath, who is ruled out due to a shoulder injury. The same injury kept him out of the semi-final too.

Ask Vinay whether he would solely credit the fast men for success, he refuses to do so.

"I agree that fast bowlers have done well this season. Our pacemen have always been good. But we should not forget the contributions of spinners KP Appanna (11 wickets), Shreyas Gopal (18 wickets) and our batsmen (KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Gautam, Stuart, Robin, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair). I would say it is the team effort which took us to the final," he explained.

Vinay stressed on the crucial hundreds by his batsmen that bailed the team out.

Young opener Rahul is Karnataka's highest scorer with 873 runs at 67.15.

Coaches J Arun Kumar (batting) and Mansur Ali Khan (bowling) along with the support staff came in for praise from Vinay.

"Our coaches (Arun and Mansur) have won Ranji Trophies in the past and their experience has certainly helped us. They and all the support staff including trainers and physios have contributed immensely," the skipper added.

Arun and Mansur are fondly known as Jak and Mak. They played together in the Ranji Trophy final in 1998-99 against Madhya Pradesh which Karnataka won. That was the last time the State team clinched the title. Arun had scored a century in that final.

Vinay stresses on focusing on their strengths than worrying about the opposition, Maharashtra.

"We have always concentrated on our strengths than the opposition's. If we play according to our strengths, we should win the final," he said.

ThatsCricket

Story first published:  Monday, January 27, 2014, 12:58 [IST]
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