Siddharth shrugs off forgettable debut

Karnataka's K V Siddharth celebrates after reaching his maiden first-class ton against Mumbai in Belagavi on Tuesday. DH PHOTO/TAIJUDDIN AZAD

K V Siddharth’s Ranji Trophy debut for Karnataka against Vidarbha was a forgettable one. In a match where another debutante B R Sharath made an immediate impact with a century, Siddharth returned scores of 19 and 16 as Karnataka’s bid to chase Vidarbha’s target went awry before they escaped with a draw.

Another misadventure with the bat against Mumbai here on Tuesday’s opening day could have endangered his place, but the 25-year-old betrayed few nerves of a batsman on the chopping line as he produced a stroke-filled unbeaten century (104 n.o., 184b, 13x4, 2x6) to help Karnataka finish day one on a satisfactory note at the KSCA Stadium.

“Those (low) scores (on debut) did not put me down,” said Siddharth after the day’s play. “I knew I was batting really well, I was getting starts and it was just a matter of time before I converted one of them… So I just backed myself with whatever decision I took for this match and it worked.”

If only batting was that simple! But Siddharth did make it appear simple on the day with his easy-on-the-eye batsmanship. He displayed a reasonably tight defence against both spin and pace and put on show his repertoire of shots that delighted a sizeable crowd. He didn’t hesitate to use his feet to spinners and never looked in doubt when he played those crisp drives in a confident exhibition of his talent.

If there was one moment when he appeared iffy it was during the final session of play when Mumbai left-spinner Karsh Kothari bowled negative lines in an obvious bid to play on his patience. Thankfully for Siddharth he had his SUCC team-mate and stand-in skipper Shreyas Gopal to guide him through the phase.           

“That phase was very new to me,” Siddharth noted. “It was the first time I was experiencing something like that. Actually, I did not know what do at that time. And Shreyas (Gopal) told me that it is just one of those phases and play it out. It helped me,” observed the right-hander who had amassed 452 runs at an average of almost 65 in this year’s Dr K Thimmappaiah memorial all-India tournament and 554 runs at 55.40 in the Sir Mirza Ismail Shield tournament.  

With his maiden ton, Siddharth may have made his spot safe in the 11 for the time being but as and when seniors like Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal and R Samarth return from their India duties, he may have to make way for them along with other replacements. It’s a cruel reality but one that Siddharth seems prepared for.  

“Whatever opportunity, you get, it is important to make use of it in this Karnataka team, which is filled with Indian batsmen. You just have to give your best and enjoy your game,” he remarked as nonchalantly as his batting on the day.

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Siddharth shrugs off forgettable debut

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