Karnataka eyes Ranji high after Vijay Hazare low

Karnataka off-spinner K. Gowtham said that the failure to defend the Vijay Hazare Trophy is now in the past and the team is looking forward to the Ranji season.

Karnataka spinner K. Gowtham feels that the team missed the services of key players such as Mayank Agarwal and K.L. Rahul in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

As defending Vijay Hazare champion, Karnataka came into the tournament this season with a formidable reputation. The team's campaign, however, fizzled out amid glaring batting failures. R. Samarth was its only player to score a century (102 against Baroda) in the tournament.

The team failed to finish in the top-five of the Elite ‘A’ and Elite ‘B’ groups. Matches against Railways and Goa were abandoned due to rain, but the domestic cricket powerhouse did little to control the controllables.

Karnataka's new coaching pair of Yere Goud and S. Arvind would be aware of the task at hand for the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season, beginning November 1.

Karnataka off-spinner K. Gowtham, who bagged 12 wickets at 5.17 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, said the side missed the services of players like Manish Pandey and K.L. Rahul, who did not play in the tournament at all.

Rahul has been away on national duty, while Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair have been India A team regulars.

"Last year (2017), we won the title so the expectations were very high [this time]. We could've done a bit better in all three departments. But all that is in the past. We're looking forward to the Ranji season," said Gowtham, who is also a handy batsman.

Read: Tamil Nadu searches for positive start with full-strength squad

The all-rounder dispelled the notion that the team is overdependent on its top three batsmen.

"I don't think that's the case. We've batsmen like Samarth and D. Nischal, who played a couple of games. The backup is there. Sometimes things don't go your way, so you just take it in stride and move on. The youngsters are keen on grabbing whatever opportunities come their way."

It has been a rewarding year for Gowtham personally. He made it to the A team for the 'Test' series against Australia A, and the India B team in the Deodhar Trophy. But he isn't getting too far ahead of himself.

"It has been pretty decent so far. I wouldn't rate this as my best [season]. I'm learning with each passing tournament and wish to give my best shot in the upcoming seasons."