Deodhar Trophy final: A battle of batters

With batsmen like Ravikumar Samarth, Mayank Agarwal, Manoj Tiwary and Shreyas Iyer in the respective squads, it could be a run fest.

Samarth confirmed his value by scoring 117 and 85 against India ‘B’ and India ‘A’ respectively.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

 

There is a composed structure that marks Ravikumar Samarth’s batting. He is skilful and brings maturity to the job when carrying the responsibility of Karnataka’s middle-order. For India ‘B’ bowlers, he would be the coveted prize to look for in the final of the Deodhar Trophy tournament here on Thursday.

His knocks of 117 and 85 against India ‘B’ and India ‘A’ have confirmed his value. “I started off well in the knockout stages of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. I think that good form has continued and I am in a very good state of mind. I am very relaxed at the crease and playing on the merit of the ball. That’s helped me,” says the 25-year-old Samarth.

Deodhar Trophy: Karnataka rolls over India 'A' to make final

Having made his debut in 2013, Samarth has come to accept that he can handle the challenges in all the formats. “I am very comfortable with the 50-over format and I know how to pace my innings. I know what my role is in the team. I am very clear about things at my end. It has come natural to me. I have not changed anything during the course of playing professionally.”

What strikes most is Samarth’s reading of his game. “I understand my limitations and I understand my game very well. I know I am not a power hitter. There’s no point in me trying shots which I can’t execute and I may get out; doesn’t make sense in playing aggressively. I know my role is to play 50 overs and play around the other batsmen who are scoring quickly. More than the boundaries I keep rotating the strike. There are few dot balls that I play. I concentrate on taking singles.”

The competition in the Karnataka camp keeps the players on their toes. “It’s not easy to get into the Karnataka team. It plays at the back of the mind that you may lose the place if you don’t perform and others are knocking on the door. I have my belief in myself and in my game. I work hard on my batting. I can’t just bank on my natural talent.”

Mayank Agarwal (left) and Karun Nair during the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

 

A stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) can help Samarth grow. “A lot of people watch IPL and more than anything, you play in packed stadiums. The pressure adds to improve your mindset and it can be so close to international standards; that experience would have helped me a lot. Observing the foreign players can be helpful.”

Pavan Deshpande, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair form the excellent top order that Karnataka boasts of even as India ‘B’ can draw strength from Manoj Tiwary, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari and Abhimanyu Easwaran in what promises to be a battle between batsmen.

Squads

Karnataka (From): Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair(c), Ravikumar Samarth, Pavan Deshpande, Stuart Binny, C.M. Gautam(w), Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Prasidh Krishna, Pradeep T, Ronit More, Abhimanyu Mithun, Abhishek Reddy, Sharath BR, Jagadeesha Suchith

India B (From): Abhimanyu Easwaran, Srikar Bharat(w), Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer (c), Manoj Tiwary, Siddhesh Lad, Jayant Yadav, Harshal Patel, Umesh Yadav, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Siddarth Kaul, Akshdeep Nath, Ruturaj Gaikwad, K. Khaleel Ahmed, Rajat Patidar

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