Ranji Trophy: One of the important knocks in my career, says Vinoop Manoharan

Promoted as an opener, Vinoop Manoharan played a match-winning knock and helped Kerala enter the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy.

Vinoop Manoharan played an attacking innings upfront and his knock laid the foundation for Kerala's victory.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

For three days, Vinoop Manoharan did nothing of note in the match. His off-spinners weren’t needed much and he failed with the bat in the first innings.

However, when he was told by coach Dav Whatmore that he will have to open batting for Kerala in the second innings, Vinoop accepted the role as a challenge and excelled.

Vinoop grabbed the opportunity and made a match-winning 96 and helped Kerala enter the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy.

As it Happened

"I took it as a challenge. I had never opened in a first class game though I had opened batting for my employer SBI. The coach and captain had faith in me and told me to attack the bowling. My plan was to play out the first 10 overs. But when I started middling the ball from the word go I felt confident. 

I used my feet to unsettle the bowlers and hit a few forcing strokes. Sachin Baby’s confidence rubbed on to me. He played fluently. The wicket got easier to bat as the match progressed. I am happy I could contribute to team’s win. It is one of the important knocks in my career,’’ Vinoop said.

READ: Ranji Trophy: Kerala rides on Vinoop's brilliance to enter quarters

Sachin, who, played a captain’s knock was elated. He said it was a dream day for his team when everything clicked according to plan.

"We knew we would be chasing today morning. The key was the opening hour and in this wicket the ball moves in the first hour. We wanted to blunt their new ball attack. It was coach’s idea to send Vinoop as an opener and he did a good job and his innings gave others in the dressing room a lot of confidence.

I was happy I could break my run of poor scores and contribute. It is good win for us and hopefully we can carry this form in the quarterfinal as well,’’ he said.

Coach Dav Whatmore refused to take credit for Vinoop’s promotions but said it was a consensus decision and praised the boys for qualifying from a tough group.

"We had problems with our opening pair all through this season. The experiment with Vinoop clicked but it doesn’t mean it will always come good.  We were missing two or three senior players. Full credit should go to the boys for the way they came back in the match. Himachal Pradesh is a good side. This win will certainly give us more confidence when we play in the quarterfinals,’’ he said.

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