Team-mates hail 'awesome' Arvind

There was little ostentation or ceremony about anything Arvind did: no exaggerated celebrations, no arguments, no fuss.

Sreenath Arvind was Vinay Kumar's go-to bowler when he was in charge of Team Karnataka.   -  PTI

S. Arvind, who retired from domestic cricket on Tuesday, will go down in history as arguably the finest left-arm pacer Karnataka has produced. There was little ostentation or ceremony about anything Arvind did: no exaggerated celebrations, no arguments, no fuss.

His quiet departure from the scene was typical of the 33-year-old. “I will be playing my last match for Karnataka in competitive cricket,” he wrote to the KSCA in his retirement note on Monday, “if selected in the playing XI tomorrow.”

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Arvind's strengths were swing and unerring accuracy; he often seemed to strike when his team needed a wicket most. “It is very difficult to find that kind of left-armer,” said R. Vinay Kumar, who captained him for a large part of his career.

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“Whenever we needed a wicket, he was my go-to bowler. Sometimes we had to drop him because of the combination, but he always took it in a good way. He was a nice guy, a good team man.”

Arvind struggled with injury but came back each time, skill intact and passion undimmed. He played only once for India - a T20 international in 2015; it could easily have been so much better had his knee held up. “The guy went through a lot of pain,” said Vinay. “It is not easy to come back and bowl normally after an operation. He had a gift – I still remember how he bowled Baroda's Connor Williams in 2009 (Ranji Trophy); Williams left the ball from the sixth stump and it took the off-stump out, it swung so much – but he also worked extremely hard.”

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Together, Vinay, Arvind and Abhimanyu Mithun formed a relentless fast-bowling attack, playing an integral part in Karnataka's success in 2013-14 and 2014-15. “So many captains would say, 'We can relax against other teams but not against Karnataka.' I felt really proud,” said Mithun.

The 28-year-old hailed Arvind's influence on his career. “He's been my mentor from the time I started playing cricket. We were room-mates. He taught me everything. I used to go to him whenever I had any problems or doubts - not just about cricket but life itself. He had problems of his own but he still had a smile on his face all the time.”

Mithun picked out Arvind's Ranji Trophy hat-trick against Tamil Nadu (Dec. 2014) as his most memorable spell. “That day he had something to prove and he was awesome,” he said. “I feel sad that I won't be bowling with him for Karnataka again.”