It has been seven years since Karnataka won a Ranji Trophy title. The quest for champion status starts afresh once again, with Karnataka taking on Services in the tournament opener at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday.
This will be the first time that Karnataka and Services face each other in the Ranji Trophy.
Karnataka has slipped in the knockout stages in the last three seasons. After exiting in the semifinals twice, Karnataka was shown the door by Uttar Pradesh in the quarterfinal last season.
In skipper Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, R. Samarth and Manish Pandey, Karnataka boasts of a settled batting line-up. Nikin Jose, Karnataka’s highest run-scorer in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy, could make his red-ball debut.
Mayank takes over captaincy duties from Pandey. On Karnataka’s mighty legacy in the Ranji Trophy, Mayank said, “We have spoken about it. But we’ve realised over the years that if we keep thinking about winning, winning, winning, it just will not happen. We are hungry, we do want to win, but we have to make a plan, be adaptable and disciplined. If we can do that, with the skillsets we have, the results will take care of itself. We are determined to win, there are no two ways about it. We want to win trophies for Karnataka.”
Mayank is keen to create a winning team environment, similar to the one seen when Karnataka dominated the domestic scene less than a decade ago.
“We have to keep encouraging them (youngsters), and create a good environment for them to flourish. Nikin did very well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. We want him to continue that form. As a team, we want to have an atmosphere where they can come, learn, execute, flourish, put up match-winning performances for Karnataka and play for the country. The environment we want to create in the team is one of wanting to win trophies, and we’re hungry for it,” Mayank said.