The exit of Vinay Kumar, A. Mithun and S. Arvind, a feared pace trio, had left a big hole in the Karnataka team.
It is not easy to replace these proven performers, who have time and again won matches for the side.
In Vyshak Vijaykumar, Vidwath Kaverappa, V. Koushik and Ronit More, Karnataka now has a fast bowling attack which can step into their shoes. Vyshak and Kaverappa top the charts for Karnataka in this Ranji Trophy, with 25 and 19 wickets respectively.
More picked up 11 wickets in three matches before an injury cut his campaign. Koushik, his replacement, has taken 11 wickets in two games.
The speedsters have played a huge role in Karnataka’s ascent to the top of the Elite Group ‘C’ points table. The traditional powerhouse, which has two more group games to go, is all but guaranteed a spot in the knockout rounds.
“As a bowling unit, we are right up there. Earlier, we felt that that the pace attack was the weak link. But now, it is our big strength. In the last game (against Chhattisgarh), the pacers took 17 wickets. Against Rajasthan, they took 16 of the 19 wickets to fall. It speaks volumes about the fire power that we have,” Karnataka head coach P. V. Shashikanth said.
The batting line-up looks settled as well. Opener R. Samarth has three hundreds and a fifty, while his partner Mayank Agarwal has a hundred and four fifties. Manish Pandey came to life with an unbeaten double century against Goa, and followed this up with a hundred against Rajasthan.
“The return of Devdutt has bolstered our chances. Our batting looks settled. Having Shreyas at six augurs well for us. Nikin is another promising lad. I’m sure he will soon convert into big scores. We are expecting bigger challenges in forthcoming matches,” Shashikanth said.
On the limited success of spinner K. Gowtham and Shreyas, Shashikanth said, “The pitches used at home was more conducive for fast blowing. The value of overs bowled by spinners was less. In the coming games, they will play a bigger role.”
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