Karnataka coach delighted with performance of youngsters

In the first two matches against Jharkhand and Services, five greenhorns, including four debutants in the opening engagement, contributed handsomely with both bat and ball to fetch consecutive victories for Karnataka.

Karnataka Ranji Trophy team's coach Arun Kumar is happy with the way the inexperienced players are making it count.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

Ahead of Karnataka’s next Group D match against Saurashtra at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday, coach J. Arun Kumar was delighted with the competition among youngsters in the side.

In the first two matches against Jharkhand and Services, five greenhorns, including four debutants in the opening engagement, contributed handsomely with both bat and ball to fetch consecutive victories for Karnataka.

In the high-profile first match against M.S. Dhoni-led Jharkhand, debutant pacers M. Prasidh and T. Pradeep claimed two wickets apiece, while off-spinner K. Gowtham, also playing his first List A match, captured four. Pavan Deshpande scored a fine 42-ball 36.

In the next outing against Services, Prasidh picked up three wickets and off-spinner Aniruddha Joshi, playing his second match in place of an unfit Gowtham, snared two.

When the team was under pressure while chasing 232, Aniruddha showed amazing composure to score a 61-ball 50 and helped Karnataka ensure a win. Deshpande also played an important knock of 73 to steady the boat in the middle overs.

Arun Kumar took pride in the inexperienced players’ performances. “We are looking at different combinations and what is right for a particular match. K. Gowtham was unfit, so Aniruddha played and cemented his place.

“It is tough (to leave out anyone). But in the end they are all doing it for the team. We are not looking at individuals but at a team.”

Arun Kumar said, “If you want your team to do well, then everybody needs to contribute. That is how you win matches. Glad to see the bowlers and batsmen contributing. We are peaking up slowly but we still have not peaked.”

Nevertheless, the Karnataka coach said that his team needed to improve upon its catching and bowling in slog overs.

Arun Kumar hoped that the seasoned Vinay Kumar, who is recovering from a leg injury, should be fit enough to play a few matches before the knockout stage.