April 30, 2010 By Krishna
Ever heard of the Davangere Express? No, I am not referring to any train that goes to Davangere, a small town in Karnataka. Rather a promising cricketer from Karnataka, who hails from this place has been given this epithet by his Ranji and IPL teammates. March 26,2010, turned out to be a memorable day for 26 year old R. Vinay Kumar, a day his labours of many years bore fruit.
His father was formerly an autorickshaw driver and his mother is a homemaker. For his middle-class parents who had sacrificed a lot for their son, tried very hard to make arrangements for their talented son to hone his bowling skills, it was a dream come true. Though he was the eldest child, his parents never pressured him to shoulder any responsibilities. Instead he was left with the task of doing what he did best- playing cricket. Family, friends and friendly coaches chipped in to help the young lad play cricket without any impediments- financial or otherwise.
This right arm medium pacer debuted in the Ranji tournament in the 2004-05 season. He has played 54 first class matches in all and has scalped a total of 202 wickets in the last 6 seasons. In the 2007-08 season, he was the second highest wicket taker. It was this performance which prompted the Royal Challengers Bangalore team to pick him up. A youngster himself, he also turned mentor to Abhimanyu Mithun and S. Arvind, both fast bowlers of the Karnataka team and himself dismissed 46 batsmen this Ranji season. In fact, his spectacular performance helped Karnataka reach the Ranji finals after 11 long years.
Inspite of playing well for so many years, a call from the national selection board had eluded him. Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid , both cricketing stalwarts from Karnataka egged him on whenever he doubted his own abilities. An all-rounder stands a better chance of being selected in the national team. Realising this he even worked on his batting and is a decent lower-order batsman. His performance in the 2 IPLs also must have been surely noticed by the selectors. He has dismissed Sachin Tendulkar once each in the 2nd and 3rd editions of IPL, a prized wicket for any bowler.
From a place in the 15 member squad, will Vinay Kumar make it to the playing 11 ? Hope this lone new face in the Indian T20 side gets an opportunity to play for India and exhibit his talent.
Author: Pratibha Shenoy (Bangaore)
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