Veteran fast-bowler R Vinay Kumar has ended his long association with Karnataka to join Puducherry as a player/mentor. Vinay Kumar had a disastrous campaign with the ball at the last Ranji Trophy as he struggled to make much of an impact. While he impressed with the bat on few occasions, he managed to pick up just 14 wickets in 7 games.
Midway during the season, Manish Pandey also replaced him as Karnataka’s captain. Vinay Kumar said that he decided to leave Karnataka in order to make room in the team for the youngsters. The likes of Ronit More, Prasidh Krishna and Prateek Jain are currently trying to become a regular feature in Karnataka’s Ranji team.
Citing the example of former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad, Vinay Kumar said the time was right to move away and give a chance to the youngsters. He said he could have played for Karnataka for few more years but is now inspired by a ‘bigger picture’.
“It has been a great journey with Karnataka cricket. It is time for me to give chance to young players. Venkatesh Prasad moved away to give me a chance when I came into the side as a 21-year-old. Now, it’s time for me to do the same. I can play for Karnataka a few more years but I am now looking at the bigger picture,” the 35-year-old pacer said in a press meet conducted at the M Chinnaswamy stadium.
Vinay Kumar said he received the call from his former Karnataka teammate, coach and current Puducherry coach Arun Kumar. a few days back.
“J Arun Kumar and I share a good rapport. I will miss Karnataka but everything has to end. Puducherry team is just one-year-old and it will be a good challenge for me,” said Vinay.
Arun and Vinay did enjoy a very successful partnership as coach and captain for Karnataka. Under Arun’s coaching, Vinay led Karnataka to back-to-back Ranji titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15. During the same phase, Karnataka also won the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Irani Cup.
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Vinay, who made his debut in 2004, played 106 Ranji Trophy matches for Karnataka, second only to former team-mate and former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi (117 matches). Vinay Kumar has so far played 130 first-class games and picked up 459 wickets.