Karun Nair justified Karnataka’s decision to not push for an outright win, saying there wasn’t much in the wicket, and that they were looking to save their bowlers with three away games to come.
Karnataka came away with only one point in their Ranji Trophy Group B clash against Himachal Pradesh at the SDNR Wadiyar stadium in Mysore on Saturday after the visitors took the innings lead and held sway for most of the game.
Needing 183 runs to win with 50 overs left on the final day, HP lost a couple of early wickets and were looking in trouble at tea. But Nair and Ankit Kalsi decided against playing on after HP reached 34 for 2 with 34 overs left in the day.
“It was a tight call for us,” offered Nair. “Obviously, we wanted to go for six points and they lost two wickets. That said, there were only 30-odd overs left and to get a team out in those overs was tough because there wasn’t much in the wicket. If we had got two more wickets before tea, we would have pushed.”
Karnataka now travel to Mumbai to face the eternal favourites in their backyard, and they, already without an injured Prasiddh Krishna, Ronit More and K Gowtham, saved their stocks for future.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries of late, so on that wicket, we didn’t want to take a chance.”
He continued: “That said, nobody is happy with the way the first innings panned out. We could have done a lot better to ensure we didn’t get into a situation such as this.”
One of the primary reasons for their ‘staying in the game’ was Devdutt Padikkal. The 19-year-old sensation has been in fine form this season with tonnes of runs in limited-overs cricket. Entering his second first-class season, Padikkal was expected to deliver, and he did with scores of 78, 39 (against Tamil Nadu) and 74 (against Uttar Pradesh). His only failure came in the first innings of this game where he was out for nought. In the second innings, he came up with a sterling 99 before a dubious decision denied him his maiden first-class century.
“I’m really happy to see that he is continuing to do well and not resting on past performances. He wants to keep going and improving. That big one is just around the corner. If he continues to bat the way he is, he’ll get that soon,” said Nair.
Speaking about their next assignment, Nair said: “It is going to be interesting because Mumbai also will look at getting six points after a loss (against Railways). It is really important for us. If we don’t win games it will difficult for us to come in the top five in the combined Group A and B category. We also have to win our home matches (Shimoga and Bengaluru) after the three away games.”