Ranji Trophy Semifinals: Shreyas Gopal gearing up for Vidarbha challenge

Karnataka's Shreyas Gopal gears up for his side's Ranji Trophy semifinal clash against Vidarbha, having scored a splendid 150 against Mumbai in the quarterfinal and claiming 21 wickets in the season so far.

Karnataka's Shreyas Gopal during a practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  Sudhakara Jain

After doing his bit with bat and ball through Karnataka’s campaign, Shreyas Gopal saved his best for the big test. Shreyas hit an unbeaten 150 - his career-best first-class score -  against domestic powerhouse Mumbai, to set up his team’s innings victory in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal. Before this, the 24-year-old had recorded two fifties this season, including a fighting 92 versus Delhi.

“To score a 150 against a strong team like Mumbai feels special. It was a matter of spending a long time at the crease,” Shreyas told Sportstar here.

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The 24-year-old has come good with his leg-breaks as well, taking 21 wickets at an average of 26.8. The spin pair of Shreyas and offie K. Gowtham have taken an impressive 55 scalps between them. With the pacers – Vinay Kumar (22 wickets) and A. Mithun (18 wickets) – firing on all cylinders as well, Karnataka’s bowling attack has worn a potent look.

“In the league phase, most of our matches were played on really good batting pitches. As spinners, we were prepared to bowl long spells. We have had to build the pressure on batsmen by bowling tight, and then hoping for a false shot. I’ve been working on my bowling with (former Karnataka left-arm spinner) Raghuram Bhat this season. His advice has been exceptional,” Shreyas said.

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Shreyas and his teammates now travel to Kolkata, to face Vidarbha in the semifinal. Fast bowler Umesh Yadav is expected to turn out for Vidarbha. “All of us are quite excited to play against a top-class bowler like Umesh. If we can get runs against him, it will give huge
confidence,” Shreyas said.

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