Bengaluru, August 20: R Vinay Kumar has been a pillar of Karnataka cricket over the last 15 overs and now the veteran pacer has decided to shift to Puducherry as player/mentor. Vinay said his decision was intended to give more chances to young players of the state.
"It has been a great journey with Karnataka cricket. It is time for me to give chance to young players. Venkatesh Prasad (former India and Karnataka pacer) 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 Puducherry a few days back. "J Arun Kumar (former Karnataka team-mate and the current Puducherry coach) 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," said Vinay, who led Karnataka to back-to-back Ranji titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Under Vinay's watch, Karnataka also won Vijay Hazare Trophy and Irani Cup in the aforementioned years.
However, Vinay went through a modest 2018-19 season, taking just 14 wickets from seven matches and Manish Pandey took over as captain midway through the season. Perhaps, it was a clear hint for Vinay of changing times and the rise of young pacers like Ronit More, Prasidh Krishna and Prateek Jain too might have made him think about his time with Karnataka.
However, Vinay said the last season's effort did not play any role in him taking the decision. "The wicket column may not show much but I was a little unfortunate. People may say I am 35 but I don't feel that way inside," he said.
R Sudhakar Rao, the KSCA secretary, lauded Vinay for making hefty contributions to Karnataka cricket. "We have lost a great player. He gave 200% on the field. I didn't expect him to leave as I thought he just wanted to play white ball cricket. He did not want to block the youngsters and that's his greatness," he said.
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, who played 117 matches. As a bowler, Vinay took 459 wickets from 139 first-class matches, second only to Pankaj Singh's tally.