As a dominant Karnataka side heads to Nagpur for its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal clash with Mumbai, R. Vinay Kumar is confident his men have all bases covered.
Last season, the team similarly sailed through the group stages before stumbling in the knock-outs, but the Karnataka captain is not worried about the past. A day ahead of the team's departure from Bengaluru, Vinay discussed his approach to big games, Mayank Agarwal's form, and the rivalry with Mumbai.
The game ahead: We have all bases covered; it's not like we're depending only on fast bowlers or spinners. Because this is a five-day game, we need to be extra careful. There's always a chance for a team to come back. Last season (against Tamil Nadu in Visakhapatnam in the quarterfinals), the wicket was not that great. If we'd bowled first, the story would have been completely different. Sometimes, it happens. But we can't think of the past.
Agarwal's success: Once you start getting runs, your feet will move freely and you're confident. I hope he continues playing this way. If he does, very soon he might make it to the Indian team. I definitely did (believe he would do well in first-class cricket). At the end of the day, in any format, you need to score runs. Look at Sehwag. He played the same way in Tests, ODIs and T20s. If the ball was there to hit, he went for it. And Mayank is doing the same thing.
Personal approach: It's important for me to lead from the front. I look to bowl well, but getting wickets is not in my hands. I love big games, I love this kind of challenge. Especially against Mumbai, a little bit extra comes from inside...for all the bowlers. Because it's a good team and the competition is at the next level.
Best memory against Mumbai: The semifinal we played here in the 2014-15 season. We were all out for 202 and then we bowled them out for 44. We hadn't put that many runs on the board. But the way we came back! Even today, when I watch that video, I feel the intent of the boys was really good. They wanted to win that game badly.
The VCA Stadium in Nagpur: I've never played a Ranji Trophy game there. But I've heard it's a good batting wicket. In the recent Test match that India played (against Sri Lanka), it was the same. We're preparing for that. We have the bowlers to get wickets on those kinds of pitches. And our batsmen are all getting runs. If K.L. Rahul joins us, it will be good for the team. Even otherwise, the boys are ready.
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