Great win

Karnataka’s 15-year wait for a Ranji Trophy triumph is over. The R Vinay Kumar-led team won the final in a spectacular fashion, trumping Maharashtra by seven wickets in Hyderabad. It indeed was a magnificent effort from the team over the course of the season, getting better of opponents in conditions as different as Bangalore, Mohali and Cuttack. 

That it managed to stitch together seven outright wins -- a rarity in Indian domestic circuit -- en route to winning the title for the seventh time tells volumes about its hunger for success. But beyond those obvious factors what really helped Karnataka was the unity in the players’ camp. Their progress was not exactly a smooth one and more than once they were pushed to the wall by teams like Mumbai, but they showed immense character to bounce back. Emotions were kept under check on and off the field. 

Karnataka’s desire to win the coveted trophy was so overwhelming that it created an environment of healthy competition among the team members, cashing in even on miniscule chances. There was no better example than Amit Verma. Drafted into the playing eleven only for the semifinals, the left-hander responded to the task with a hundred against Punjab. H S Sharath was the battering ram of Karnataka for the better part of the season but a shoulder injury that he suffered during the quarterfinals against Uttar Pradesh forced the pacer to sit out of semis and final. But S Arvind chipped in with crucial wickets. 

It was a wonderful exhibition of bench strength as well as the ability to deliver goods when it really mattered. Then there were Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and Ganesh Satish who came up with precious efforts with bat and ball at crucial times and coaches J Arun Kumar and Mansoor Ali Khan ensured that the team remained focused till the very end. 

However, Karnataka players should treat this just as a beginning. Bigger challenges will come calling soon and they should built on this triumph and carve their own niche, and like Mumbai, they should look to prolong the domination of the domestic scene. In that context, Irani Trophy, starting on February 9, comes at the right time because it gives them a chance to add another title to the kitty before the competitive edge tempers down. But till then it’s time to enjoy a monumental success.

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