Bengaluru, September 18: Karnataka skipper R. Vinay Kumar continues to script history in Karnataka cricket. Over the years, the medium pacer has evolved into the most dominating cricketer in the domestic circuit.
Having made his 14 summers ago against Bengal, Vinay has 381 wickets from 99 matches for Karnataka. With this impressive stats, Vinay turns out to be the highest wicket taker among the speedsters at the national level. And also, under the 34-year-old Vinay’s captaincy, Karnataka won two Ranji Trophy titles.
With several records under his name, the Davangere-born pacer will etch his name in the record books by playing his 100th Ranji Trophy game for Karnataka and they begin their campaign against defending champions Vidarbha on November 12.
With Karnataka preparing for their Vijay Hazare Trophy at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday, Sport Seam caught up with Vinay for a tete-a-tete.
Q: The Ranji Trophy match against Vidarbha will be your 100th game. How does it feel?
Vinay: It’s a great feeling. Not everyone gets to represent their state for 100 matches. When I first came to Bengaluru, I went never thought I would achieve this feat. I want to thank my family, friends, well-wishers, senior cricketers and KSCA for giving this opportunity. Coming from a rural region and playing 100 matches was not an easy task. I’m grateful to everyone who helped me in this journey. I want to dedicate this match for my state.
Q: What are your memorable moments from Ranji Trophy?
Vinay: When we won the (Ranji Trophy) title in 2013-14, it is the most memorable moment of my career. The very next season, we defeated Mumbai at (M.) Chinnaswamy Stadium is also very special. We were bowled out for 187 and later got them all out for 46. In that innings, I picked up six wickets.
Q: You are the highest wicket taker among the fast bowlers in the Ranji Trophy. What you want to say about that feat?
Vinay: Every time I take the field, I always want to bowl well and take wickets for my team. I worked hard on my bowling and the results show in the matches. Right now, I’m there at the top but later someone else will take it. What matters to me is to bowl well for my team. Picking up two important wickets at the crucial situation of the match makes me happier than taking five or six wickets.
Q: Share some thoughts on your debut and first time in the dressing room?
Vinay: I made my debut against Bengal at Jadhavpur University in 2004. J Arun Kumar was the captain while Jeshwanth was the coach. Dodda Ganesh, NC Aiyappa and Sunil Joshi were my bowling partners. They let me express myself on the field and supported me. That’s the reason I’m here.
Q: Tell us about your journey?
Vinay: The journey has been beautiful and I can’t put them in words. When I first came down to Bengaluru, I got an opportunity to play with Siddaram and Rajesh Kamath for Neptune Sports Club. We got promoted to KSCA IV Division league in 2003. Next season, I played for Swastic Union in the first division league – thanks to Brijesh Patel and YB Patel for giving me an opportunity. YB Patel and Siddarama were Tumkur Zone selectors. They recognized my potential and pushed me to the limits to perform. They always asked me focus on cricket and nothing else. The same year, I got to play for MRF Pace Foundation under Anil Kumble against Railways. And in that game, I scalped a hat-trick. This gave me a lot of confidence. I went on to play for Karnataka and rest is history.
Q: How are the preparations for the upcoming season?
Vinay: The preparations are on full swing. All of them played in the KPL and they are match fit. We have been playing practice matches.
Q: Do you have any goals set for this season?
Vinay: I want to make a comeback into the India squad. I can’t take that thought off my head. I’m fit and giving my best in all the formats. I have been performing for the last few seasons but I’m unable to understand why I’m not getting selected. I will continue to work hard and win matches for my state.
Ranji Trophy (Highest wickets):
637: Rajender Goyal (Haryana, spinner)
530: S. Venkataraghavan (TN, spinner)
479: Sunil Joshi (Karnataka, spinner)
442: Narendra Hirwani (MP, spinner)
437: BS Chandrashekar (Karnataka, spinner)
418: Vaman Kumar (TN, spinner)
405: Sairaj Bahutule (Mumbai, spinner)
403: Bishen Singh Bedi (Spinner, spinner)
401: Utpal Chatterjee (Bengal, spinner)
381: R. Vinay Kumar (Karnataka, fast bowler)
370: Yerapalli Prasanna (Karnataka, spinner)
Ranji Trophy: Karnataka under Vinay Kumar captaincy
Year M W L D
2010/11 06 02 01 03
2011/12 03 01 00 02
2012/13 05 01 01 03
2013/14 08 05 00 03
2014/15 10 06 00 04
2015/16 08 02 01 05
2016/17 07 03 02 02
2017/18 08 05 01 02
Total: 55 25 06 24
Read under: matches, wins, loss, draw
Courtesy: Channagiri Keshavmurthy, Statistician