Karnataka had won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup last season. They repeated the sequence this term, confirming their numero uno status in Indian cricket. Captain Vinay Kumar attributed the success to team-effort as he spoke to The Indian Express. Excerpts:
Q: How do you describe this golden run?
A: It’s down to team-effort. Every member has contributed to the success. Different players have performed in different matches. Take Karun (Nair) and Manish (Pandey). They were a little slow off the blocks. But look how they raised the level in big matches.
Q: What makes this team so special?
A: We thrive on collective performance. Batters contributed as a unit. As for bowling, I, (Abhimanyu) Mithun, (Sreenath) Aravind, (HS) Sharath and (Shreyas) Gopal have all stepped up to the plate. Stuart (Binny) provided the all-round balance in the matches he played. Team atmosphere is also a factor, which makes every youngster feel at home. Everyone wants to play for India.
Q: Expectations were high this season after the silverware won last season. Were you under pressure?
A: I’d say it was more challenging this year. But the winning flavour from the last season was still there and it gave us the momentum. We were quietly confident that we could do it again. We kept our goals simple and worked hard to achieve them.
Q: What next for Karnataka?
A: We missed out on the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last year. So we would like to make it four-out-of-four this season. Long term, we want to dominate Indian domestic cricket for the next five-ten years. We’ve had a settled squad and a very good supply-line.
Q: You finished the Ranji season with 48 wickets but that didn’t take you to the World Cup. Not even among the probables. It must be hurting?
A: Yes, I was disappointed. I played my last ODI against Australia in Bangalore a couple of seasons ago and after that, even though I was included in the squads for a few matches in the home series against West Indies and Sri Lanka, but I didn’t get a game. Hopefully, I will return to the fold soon.