Gowtham credits collective effort for Karnataka's trophy-glut

Karnataka's thrilling victory over Tamil Nadu in the 2019 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final is its fourth domestic white-ball title in the space of two years.

Krishnappa Gowtham said that apart from immense talent, the positive atmosphere in the Karnataka dressing room has also played a huge role in its success.   -  TWITER

Tamil Nadu had only five runs to get from the last three balls of Sunday's nerve-jangling Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final, but K. Gowtham, who sent down that final over, maintains that he did not concede defeat at any stage.

"It is about being in the present and not thinking too far ahead," he said on Monday. "I was thinking about bowling those good-length balls which are hard to hit. I was relaxed, I was very calm. Even after the two boundaries (off the first two balls), I was confident that I could pull the game back."

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The win in Surat brought Karnataka its fourth domestic white-ball title in the space of two years, and its tenth trophy in all formats since the start of the 2013-14 season. Three different sets of coaches have handled the team in that span, but success has been consistent. New players keep emerging, seamlessly slotting into the side. There is clearly no dearth of talent in the ranks, but dressing-room atmosphere must also be a factor.

"There is no senior-junior difference in the team at all," said pace-bowler Ronit More. "We enjoy each other’s success, which is a major reason for doing well as a team."

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Credit must also go to Manish Pandey, who has proven himself an able leader. Fans of domestic cricket will have been heartened by the commitment the likes of Pandey, Mayank Agarwal and K.L. Rahul have shown to their State team. In September, Pandey went through a full training session on the eve of Karnataka's Vijay Hazare Trophy opener, despite having been in the Indian dressing room for the third T20 against South Africa less than 12 hours before. “Even if I had checked out of the hotel today, I would have come and joined the Karnataka team,” he had said.

Pandey's role in Sunday's win was pivotal. He top-scored with 60, and was then in the thick of things in the game's final moments, as he fired in a superb throw from the boundary to help run out Vijay Shankar. "The whole world knows what kind of fielder Manish Pandey is," said Gowtham. "I don't think anyone had any doubt about that throw."