Aravind fights his way back to prominence

Karnataka's seamer S. Aravind, who was dropped from the opening Ranji Trophy fixture this season, has recorded 22 scalps in the four games he has played since, making him the side’s highest wicket-taker.

S. Aravind, like seam partner and Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar, relies on swing to dismiss batsmen.   -  K. Murali Kumar

S. Arvind received a jolt when he was not picked in the eleven for Karnataka’s opening Ranji Trophy match, against Jharkhand. He had, after all, represented India in a Twenty20 International just a year earlier. In the next fixture, Arvind was selected in place of injured skipper, Vinay Kumar. The southpaw made it count, taking four for 12 in the first-innings to guide Karnataka past Gautam Gambhir’s Delhi.

The speedster has recorded 22 scalps in the four games he has played this season, making him the side’s highest wicket-taker. His spot in the eleven is no longer under threat.

Much like Vinay, Arvind relies on swing, rather than pace, to do the trick. He is especially lethal with the new ball, taking it both ways to befuddle opposition batsmen. The Vinay-Arvind combine, along with off-spinner K. Gowtham, has taken Karnataka to the top of the Group B leaderboard.

Patience and skill

Arvind states that he enjoys bowling with Vinay. “If Vinay and I bowl 3-4 maidens on the trot, a wicket will be around the corner for one of us,” he says. This game of patience, combined with a high dose of skill, brought about a massive 393-run victory over Rajasthan here on Wednesday. The two took 16 wickets between them, leaving Rajasthan with sub-150 totals in both innings.

The 32-year-old, however, has had his fair share of injury troubles in a stop-start career. When he busted his knee in 2011, many believed that it was the end of the road, but Arvind forced his way back into contention. In late 2015, more injury concerns followed, and once again the Bengalurean came out on top.

Karnataka chief coach J. Arunkumar says, “Everyone in the Karnataka team knows that Arvind is a fighter. He was out for nearly two years after he had that serious knee issue in 2011. But, he returned and even played for India after that. His commitment is exceptional. Every time he steps onto the field for us, he gives it his all. He is true, passionate lover of Karnataka.”