Raghunath praises the class of 2010

Raghunath praises the class of 2010


B RaghunathSunil Joshi had already had a taste of playing, and finishing on the winning side, in the finals in 1996 and 1998, while for B Akhil, then a young all-rounder with plenty of promise, it was ultimate success in his very first year as a first-class cricketer.

Like Joshi, B Raghunath has also been involved in more than one victorious campaign. In March 1974, when Karnataka won their first title under Erapalli Prasanna defeating Rajasthan in Jaipur, Raghunath was the 12th man. Two and a half decades later, he was the coach when Karnataka registered back-to-back triumphs in finals, against Uttar Pradesh in 1998 and then MP the following year.

“It’s inevitable that anyone associated with Karnataka cricket and who has been closely linked with Ranji Trophy triumphs will get nostalgic today,” said Raghunath, now a match referee who officiated during Mumbai’s semifinal win over Delhi at the Brabourne stadium earlier in the week.

“In Mumbai, everyone was curious to know about Mithun. They have seen a fair bit of Manish (Pandey), but Mithun is a bit of an unknown quantity to the Mumbai team,” he added. “My duties as a match referee and the fact that Karnataka haven’t played too many matches at home this season has ensured that I haven’t been able to watch a lot of cricket, but from whatever little I have seen and from what I have heard, this team has the trappings of a champion side.”

‘Happy family’
Raghunath reflected on the side he coached to twin successes. “We were one big happy family,” he remarked. “Everyone backed everyone else, there were no egos and there was no one-upmanship. Everyone pulled in the same direction, which is why we could dominate the domestic scene for two years.

“In the 1999 final, we had lost some play to rain after conceding the first-innings lead to Madhya Pradesh. I remember Rahul (Dravid) telling me just before he left for the World Cup in England that there is very little one can do about the elements. When Vijay (Bharadwaj) took six wickets after tea on the final day and spun us to a famous victory, both Rahul and Brijesh (Patel, who was then the Indian manager) called up from England to congratulate the team.”

Raghunath was all praise for the class of 2010, a young bunch that has shown maturity way beyond its years. “Several boys are in their first full season, but they have played an exciting brand of cricket.

“Rahul has led the team brilliantly, and I am sure Robin (Uthappa) will do equally well in the final next week. Mumbai aren’t an easy side to beat in Ranji finals,” pointed out Raghunath, “but I am confident we have what it takes to come up trumps.”

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