Ranji Trophy: Agarwal, Abhiram hit out shot selection

Karnataka imploded inexplicably, losing 7 wickets for 119 runs in a stunning first session before being bowled out for 243.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 20:28 IST

Nagpur: The disappointment was writ large on the face of Mayank Agarwal. As soon as Vidarbha wrapped up Karnataka’s innings a little after lunch, the visiting skipper struggled to fathom the self-destruction he and his team-mates had done on the final day of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.

Resuming Tuesday at 103/1 chasing 371 for an improbable win, Karnataka had the chance to do the unthinkable. The momentum was on their side and with Agarwal batting beautifully overnight, the belief was strong. But like they’ve done so often this season, Karnataka imploded inexplicably, losing 7 wickets for 119 runs in a stunning first session before being bowled out for 243.

Agarwal, SJ Nikin Jose and Manish Pandey gifted their wickets on a platter owing to poor shot selection while poor running between the wickets ended the stays of Aneesh KV and Dheeraj Gowda. Agarwal, trying hard to process the mayhem, blamed himself and the rest of his batting colleagues for the defeat.

“Quite disappointed. I felt we had a good chance coming into Day 5. Obviously, we didn’t apply ourselves with the bat. The shot selection was much to be desired. We just threw away our wickets,” said Agarwal in the post-match interaction. “I’m unhappy with the shot I played. Even in the first innings, shot selection through the game left a lot to be desired.”

This was not the first time this season Karnataka batters have imploded, getting bowled out below 200 four times this season. Agarwal felt batters need to introspect the decisions they’ve made. “A lot of us need to think as to what kind of decisions we are taking under pressure. Are we disciplined to execute the kind of plans we have set for ourselves. We need to answer those two questions.”

Chairman of selection committee J Abhiram, shell-shocked at watching the collapse, minced no words in his criticism of the team. “I was fuming at the shot Mayank played. Even Manish, you expect some sort of application and temperament from such senior players. The seniors had to shoulder the responsibility and they’ve totally failed today. It’s shocking.

“I told Mayank last night that if one wicket falls it could lead to one or two more. And that’s what happened today. It was just Gujarat again where we fell apart from 50/1 to 103 all out. The senior batters really need to reflect on the shots they’ve played in this game. It’s sad the effort of the fast bowlers didn’t bear fruit.”

Agarwal, meanwhile, lauded pacers Vyshak V, Vidwath Kaverappa and V Koushik for a brilliant season collectively. “I think they have been tremendous through the season. All of them are playing their second full season, it’s not like they’ve played 5-6 seasons and they have that experience. For them to come out here and put in the performances, like they did in this game also, hats off to them. 

“The way they are bowling and the effort they are putting in is amazing. To produce 10 wickets on this kind of wicket in two sessions (in the second innings) is phenomenal. We can take definitely take a lot of heart from that.”

(Published 27 February 2024, 20:28 IST)

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