Vinay reaps reward for commitment

The 25-year-old is the leading wicket-taker for RCB

Vinay reaps reward for commitment

Vinay Kumar... strong show

The 25-year-old with a heart the size of a football and an attitude that mirrors his skipper Anil Kumble's has been a champion performer in domestic cricket without attracting the plaudits, or indeed the attention, that his deeds deserve.

The lack of recognition does hurt, but Vinay isn't the kind to sit back and mope. His motto forever has been that there is a job to be done, and he will get it done. If the encomiums flow in, great. Even if they don't, he takes pride from the fact that he has the admiration and respect of his peers, team-mates and opponent alike.

“I always knew I had the talent but without the help of my coaches and my supporters I wouldn’t have reached this stage. Whenever I was down, Anil bhai and Rahul bhai were always there to support me and they just asked me to concentrate on my performance which I have been doing,” said Vinay.

From cricket-unfashionable Davanagere to being the key medium-pacer for Karnataka, a wicket-taker and a mentor, a game trier with a never-say-die attitude, it has been a journey of unrelenting hard work and great toil. A stickler for training and armed with enviable work ethics, Vinay has strode the domestic circuit like a colossus over the last few years, finishing the season gone by with the most number of first-class victims.

A central contract from the Board of Control for Cricket in India continues to remain elusive, but Vinay hasn't allowed that to prevent him from continuing to do what he does best - give it his best ball after ball, match after match.

He is the leading wicket-taker for the Royal Challengers Bangalore after four outings in the Indian Premier League, not a mean accomplishment given that he is part of a line-up that includes Kumble, Dale Steyn, Praveen Kumar and Jacques Kallis. Perceived as something of a weak link, the unassuming young man has made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice with seven wickets from four matches, including Sachin Tendulkar for the second time in two editions, and placing him third in the wicket-takers' list behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.

"He is committed and totally focused," Kumble observed, clearly impressed with not just Vinay's output but also his tremendous input. "He is not fazed, whether it is Gilchrist or Hayden that is the batsman."

Kumble the captain knows that whatever he asks of Vinay will be delivered. That isn't to say that Vinay will always be successful if wickets is the yardstick by which success is measured, but for commitment and effort, he will be never found wanting.

Within the State set-up, he has seamlessly embraced the mentoring role, shepherding the less experienced pace duo of Abhimanyu Mithun and S Arvind. He is more a student than teacher in the Challengers' domain, though there is much to learn from his discipline and spirit.

In recognition of the leadership skills with the ball and as head of the bowling unit, Vinay was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the State in the South Zone Subbiah Pillai Trophy one-day tournament, a task he performed with no little success. He is, though, no chaser of honours and mantles. That will remain his greatest strength, because his energies are channeled more towards the team than the individual.

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