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Karnataka export quality

cricket
Last Updated : 14 March 2020, 18:46 IST
Last Updated : 14 March 2020, 18:46 IST

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Ganesh Satish
Ganesh Satish
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Amit Verma
Amit Verma

Karnataka has a legacy of producing some of the finest cricketers the world has seen. Touching on names such as G R Viswanath, Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid would still only be scratching the surface. But for every legend created at the home of the eight-time Ranji Trophy champions, there are a number of cricketers who have either slipped through the cracks or have had to take their talents elsewhere for the lack of playing time and/ or relevance.

At the start of this season, R Vinay Kumar, arguably Karnataka’s greatest domestic pace bowling talent and certainly their most successful captain, moved to Puducherry to lend his expertise to a young side. At the same time, Amit Verma donned the role of captain for Goa and hoped for great things in his second season with them, while Ganesh Satish wanted to further establish his value for Vidarbha. Here’s how they fared….

R VINAY KUMAR

(moved from Karnataka to Puducherry for the 2020 season):

I had a fantastic season, but I was disappointed that we were not able to qualify for the knockouts. I was also disappointed that Karnataka did not go past the semifinals. It was especially hard because it’s such a good team with such young talent and they lost in the semifinals again. I don’t think they missed me at all this season. One of the reasons I left was because I knew that the team was in good hands.

The experience of being a professional cricketer is not entirely different from playing for your own state. You anyway travel all over so you get very little time with family in any case. That said, Puducherry was very understanding of my position and allowed me to travel to Bengaluru in between games. If that wasn’t the case it would have been harder. Also, the amount of respect they have shown me this season was amazing. It made my switch very easy.

As for performances, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I stick to my basics and that’s my strength. I did want to prove a point to myself that I still had it in me to do well at this level. I wasn’t able to put up good numbers for a couple of seasons so this was very good for me. It shows that I am still relevant as a player, but more importantly, it’s essential to lead the way when you’re mentoring a young team. This has been a very good experience for me and I am loving this exposure.

SEASON STATS

Mat: 9. Wkts: 45. BBI: 6/32. BBM: 11/76. Avg: 11.31. Econ: 2.82. SR: 24.

TEAM PERFORMANCE: Puducherry finished second in Plate Group with seven wins (48 points) from nine games. Missed out on qualifying for the knockouts by two points behind Goa.

AMIT VERMA

(moved to Kerala and then Assam before signing with Goa for the 2019-20 season. Named captain this year):

This has been one of the best seasons I have ever had. I have always worked on my batting with focus but this is the first season I paid a lot of attention to my bowling. At the start of the season, I decided that I wanted to score close to 700 runs and pick up about 35 wickets. It was the goal I set to each of my team-mates as well. I was able to surpass my goal. More importantly, I am glad that I was able to take my team to the knockouts. It’s a big deal for us. I have come to enjoy responsibility and I think it brings out the best in me. This is the first time I was leading a side and this experience has been brilliant.

Of course, you miss playing for your state. You see pictures of the team outings and with families and you miss that. I am still very close friends with a lot of them but it plays on your mind a lot of times if you allow it to. I felt a bit alone and that breeds plenty of negativity. You start thinking about things you shouldn’t be thinking about: ‘why am I here?’, ’what good is this for my career?’, ‘how will they accept me?’, ‘Will they ever accept me?’. The list is endless. Also, each time I felt that was I told myself that me getting a chance to play every game in a season is next to impossible. This is what I had to do to further my career.

This season I told myself that I was going to embrace this team and that feeling came about after I was named captain. Now, there is no time for nostalgia. I still follow Karnataka cricket and my childhood friends but I have a job to do now.

SEASON STATS

Mat: 10. Runs: 848. Avg: 65.23. Highest: 148. 100s: 4. 50s: 4.

Wkts: 43. BBI: 6/52. BBM: 9/73. Avg: 15.74. Econ: 3.23. SR: 29.1.

TEAM PERFORMANCE: Goa finished on top of the Plate Group and earned a spot in the knockouts with seven wins from nine games. They lost to Gujarat by 464 runs in the quarterfinals.

GANESH SATISH

(moved to Vidarbha six seasons ago):

Never once did I think I would once again win the Ranji Trophy title when I moved to Vidarbha. Which is one of the reasons I was apprehensive when I left Karnataka after winning a title with them. I knew I would get my chances but I knew I wouldn’t be consistently fielded, and there’s that pressure to deliver every single time you set foot on the field. It’s what championship teams have around them all the time. I felt a pressure in Vidarbha too but it’s different. Here it was a job. I was offered a role, I took it up and now I need to deliver. I now enjoy that pressure. It was character building when I joined.

It was very hard to blend in because my entire life was in Bengaluru. I was just married when I made the decision to move so it took a lot out of my family when I did. Thankfully they supported me fully. Once there, it was tough not to think about the State you have played for since you were 12 years old. It’s natural, but I knew I had a job to do. I was entrusted with this role and the kind of support I received from this team was great. Now I can say this is my second home.

As far as our season goes, we are disappointed that we were not able to qualify, but I think that had more to do with luck than it did with our quality. We are not genuine title contenders each year and we aren’t happy with crashing out in the league.

SEASON STATS

Mat: 8. Runs: 727. Ave: 80.77. Highest: 237. 100s: 3. 50s: 2.

TEAM PERFORMANCE: Vidarbha finished seventh on the Elite Cross Pool with two wins and two losses (21 points) in eight games to fail to qualify for the knockouts.

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Published 14 March 2020, 18:14 IST

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