Ranji Trophy: Gowtham eager to repeat last season's Navule heroics

Karnataka is fresh off a dramatic win over Railways, with the team conjuring a win from a seemingly impossible situation in Delhi last week.

K. Gowtham in action during this season's Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu in Dindigul.   -  G. Karthikeyan

K. Gowtham has vivid memories of his previous outing at the KSCA Navule Stadium. Last season, the off-spinner was laid low by a fever and an upset stomach as Karnataka took on an obstinate Railways side in the Ranji Trophy here.

On the fourth afternoon, with the tea break a minute away, the game seemed headed for a draw. Gowtham, who had been on a liquid diet all day, smashed the door open. He produced a spell of 5/20 (finishing with innings figures of 6/30) to induce a stunning Railways collapse and deliver Karnataka a fine win.

"Not very happy memories of my health," Gowtham laughed, when reminded of last season's efforts. "I had fallen sick on the second day. Coming back and winning the game for the team is something I always wanted to do. I would like to contribute this time too."

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Karnataka takes on a relatively inexperienced Madhya Pradesh outfit here from Tuesday, with the home side the overwhelming favourite. "We don't think about the other team; we just have to play our best,” said Gowtham. “[But] they are a fairly inexperienced side. Definitely, we will try to choke them up and push for a win. We are on the right track now [to advance to the quarterfinals].”

Karnataka is fresh off another dramatic win over Railways, the team conjuring a win from a seemingly impossible situation in Delhi last week. “That speaks volumes about the team and the way we approach the game,” said Gowtham.

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“Our fast bowlers went out there all guns blazing — Ronit, Mithun and Prateek. The whole team wanted to win that game badly. It has definitely lifted our confidence.”

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