Indian cricket's latest heroes are continuing to emerge from the hinterland. R. Vinay Kumar, who has been selected for the Indian team scheduled to compete in the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies during May, is a fresh example of an iron-willed small-town lad carving his space under the sun.
The 26-year old grew up in Davangere, a town famous for professional colleges and lip-smacking butter dosas. Vinay swiftly emerged as a crafty seamer and from being an under-study to Dodda Ganesh, he made the transition to being a mentor to the likes of A. Mithun while guiding Karnataka to the Ranji Trophy final, last season.
Vinay grabbed 57 wickets in the recent season, bowling for Karnataka and South Zone and in the current Indian Premier League, he pocketed eight wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), including the prized scalps of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.
Vinay has been waiting for his India cap ever since he made his first-class debut in 2004 and he was thrilled with his belated but welcome selection.
“I have been expecting this for a long time and every time I would be disappointed. I would tell my parents that may be I am not destined to play for the country. But now I am happy seeing them happy.
“We weren't financially strong but they never made me feel guilty about the fact that I wasn't helping them. It's a huge opportunity for me and it's important that I don't get overawed by the situation,” said an elated Vinay.
The seamer expressed his gratitude to his first coach, the late Prakash Powar and other mentors like Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid.
With a tally of 202 first-class wickets, the added ability to score handy runs and a large clutch of Twenty20 games under his belt ranging from playing for Belagavi Panthers in the Karnataka Premier League to RCB in the IPL, Vinay is eager to deliver on the big stage.
He also has a legacy to live up to in a State enlivened by the exploits of men like Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.