Shreyas Gopal has not played a big role as Karnataka’s second spinner in this Ranji Trophy campaign. Shreyas has bowled only 48 overs in three matches, and in the ongoing outing against Rajasthan at Alur (II) Cricket Stadium, the leg-spinner was called to bowl in the visitor’s first essay.
If Shreyas had to make an impact, it had to come with the bat. The 29-year-old did just that on Wednesday, making a crucial 95 to effectively shut Rajasthan out of the game.
Shreyas’ knock, studded with clean on-drives and crisp cuts, took Karnataka to 380 for eight at the end of the second day. The host holds a big lead of 251 runs and can press for an innings victory.
A poor shot cost Shreyas the chance to record his fifth First-Class hundred. A half-hearted jab to a wide ball from pacer Aniket Choudhary proved costly as the ball flew to Yash Kothari at slip.
Shreyas grew in confidence during a 109-run fifth-wicket partnership with Sharath Srinivas (42, 120b, 5x4).
Shreyas stated that he enjoys batting as much as bowling. “My debut season was the worst season I have had with the bat. Following that, I have always wanted to contribute and prove myself as a batter,” Shreyas said.
On his limited bowling opportunities this season, Shreyas said, “The wickets have not been very conducive to spin bowling. It’s been really good batting wickets, and that is probably why we spinners have not come into the tournament,” Shreyas said.
Skipper Manish Pandey retired hurt in the morning session after taking a painful blow to the finger from fast bowler Arafat Khan. Pandey returned to the crease after Srinivas’s dismissal to give Shreyas reliable company. Pandey was unruffled by the injury, staying unbeaten on 75.