Vinay thrilled to see team effort

R Vinay Kumar had taken Karnataka into Ranji Trophy semifinals in his maiden foray as the captain in the 2010-11 season which had ended in the defeat to Baroda at Vadodara. Into his fourth year as skipper, the 29-year-old has once again led the former champions into last-four stage but hopes to progress to the final this time. 

Karnataka will take on Punjab in their semifinal to be held in Mohali from January 18. “I'm very happy,” gushed Vinay after Karnataka defeated Uttar Pradesh by 92 runs in the quarterfinal on Saturday. “This was an overall team effort. The last time we played in the semifinals was in Baroda where we lost. We played a good match but failed in it. In the last two years, we've failed at the quarterfinal stage. This time, every player in this team wants to play for India. When it comes to that kind of desire, then a performance like this isn’t a tough ask,” he said. 

The final day was an ill-tempered affair with players from either side often engaging in verbal duel but Vinay played it down. “It was not sledging,” he stressed. “In a situation like this when it is a knockout (match) and not a league match, we need to be in their faces because if we lose, we go home. That was the plan and sledging was not a part of it,” he pointed out.

Vinay hoped that injured paceman HS Sharath would be fit for the semifinal while he was full of praise for Shreyas Gopal. “The physio says he will need four or five days (to recover). We are hoping he’ll be fit because it’s good for the team. If not, Ronit More will take his place. And Shreyas is a very good prospect for Karnataka. From the day he made his debut he has been taking crucial wickets and hopefully he’ll do well in the coming games.”

Shreyas, who claimed his maiden five-wicket haul to fashion Karnataka’s win, said this was just a start. “I am feeling very good and thankfully it (the five-wicket haul) came at the right time. This is the start and we have two more matches to come. We’ll take one match at a time and hopefully we will win the Ranji Trophy. That’s the basic aim. Battingwise, I’ve got off to good starts and hopefully, it’s a matter of time before I get a few runs in the next two games.”

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