Vinay Kumar: ‘Karnataka can’t make the same mistakes’

Karnataka’s domestic campaign ended in disappointment last time around, after having won a treble of titles in successive seasons. The side failed to advance to the quarterfinal of the Ranji Trophy, having won only two matches outright.

The seamer was hopeful of his own chances of a return to India colours. "I’m confident I will make a comeback. I have five-six years of cricket left in me. I’m bowling really well.”   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

After having won a treble of titles in successive seasons, Karnataka’s domestic campaign ended in disappointment last time around. The side failed to advance to the quarterfinal of the Ranji Trophy, having won only two matches outright. R. Vinay Kumar understands that a great deal more is expected of Karnataka this season. “We can’t make the mistakes we made last season,” he said here on Tuesday. “We need to take this season very seriously from the first game, the first day, the first session. Last year, we didn’t do that badly but in all the tournaments, the first game didn’t go our way. Plus the wickets didn’t support us a lot, especially when we played at home.”

The decision to host the Ranji Trophy at neutral venues this season has not gone down well everywhere, but Vinay preferred to see the bright side of it. “It’s a good thing,” the 32-year-old said. “The whole team will be together as a family for three months. It might help us bond well and perform well.”

The absence of home support had to be accepted, Vinay felt. “There are always two sides to the coin. When the BCCI came up with this idea, we were fine with it. It’s only after this season that we will come to know whether this is good for us or not,” he said.

Vinay expected to lose players, like last season, to national duty, but remained unworried. “If three-four players go and play for the country, it’s a proud moment for me as captain. It’s a proud moment for the KSCA,” he said. “In the team, everyone has to take extra responsibility.”

The seamer was hopeful of his own chances of a return to India colours. “I’ve got the BCCI’s best bowler award (most wickets in Ranji Trophy 2014-15) and best all-rounder award (in limited-overs tournaments 2013-14) in the last two years,” he said. “If you don’t perform you won’t get those awards. I don’t know what’s going wrong. But this is not in my hands. I’m confident I will make a comeback. I have five-six years of cricket left in me. I’m bowling really well.”

C. M. Gautam and Robin Uthappa shared wicket-keeping duties between them last season – an arrangement that was not exactly ideal. Vinay said the team was yet to discuss its approach to that issue this season. “We’re all mature enough to accept our responsibilities,” he stated. “When it came to ‘keeping, Robin and Gautam themselves came and shared their views. They wanted to do that because Robin had a chance to play for India as a second wicket-keeper. That’s what I came to know. It’s a good thing for the team when that mutual understanding exists within. But this year I don’t know what they want to do. We’ll have to sit and discuss.”