It was a recognition that was truly deserved. R. Vinay Kumar has often been the unsung hero of Karnataka cricket, toiling away on placid tracks, chipping in useful runs lower down the order and being a cricketer with lots of spirit. The seamer, who made the transition from Davangere to Bangalore and has had his stints with the Indian limited overs squads, will lead Karnataka in the current Ranji season.

Vinay is grateful for the honour but refused to be overawed. “To lead a team that in the past has been led by great players like Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Sunil Joshi is indeed a great privilege for me. But if I think too much about it then it will start affecting my individual game. So I want to keep it simple and play the way I usually do,” said Vinay.

Coping with pressure

The 26-year-old said that the team will cope with the pressure of expectations triggered by last season's runner-up status. “The team did extremely well last season and we want to continue the good work. A. Mithun, S. Arvind and I bowled well and among the batsmen Manish Pandey and Ganesh Satish had a good stint. Even Robin Uthappa had a few good knocks.

“There will be expectations but I have conveyed to the team that we need to enjoy our game and not put any undue pressure on ourselves,” Vinay, who bagged 46 wickets in the last Ranji season, said.

Vinay was upbeat about his team that also features India under-19 batsman K.L. Rahul. “The team is young and compact and we are all keen to start our Ranji season well. Rahul is a talented batsman and he has come up very well through the age-group tournaments,” said Vinay.

With 202 first-class wickets in his kitty, Karnataka's latest captain is keen to lead from the front as the team gears up for its first game against Punjab at Mohali from November 10.

The team: R. Vinay Kumar (captain), Robin Uthappa, K.B. Pawan, Amit Verma, Manish Pandey, C.M. Gautam (wicket-keeper), Ganesh Satish, Sunil Joshi, A. Mithun, S. Arvind, K.L. Rahul, Stuart Binny, Udit Patel, Sunil Raju and Aditya B. Sagar. Coach: Sanath Kumar .

Ashirwad sizzles

B.G. Ashirwad's unbeaten 176 helped Mirambika School defeat Yenkay Educational Society by 127 runs in a KSCA under-16 inter-school tournament match here recently.

The scores: Mirambika School 285 for four in 50 overs (B.G. Ashirwad 176 n.o.) bt Yenkay Educational Society 158 in 35.2 overs (Preran 52, Dhruv 25, Akshay four for 36, Ajay three for 35).

Carmel HS 234 for nine in 50 overs (Sudeep Reddy 109, Sohail Khan 33, Vasanth three for 33) bt Holy Cross School 106 in 25.5 overs (Anjeniya 25, Lohith Gowda five for 56, G. Rahul three for 17).

Sri Kumaran Public School 199 in 49 overs (Adithya 47, Akshay 29, M Navneeth 27, Kallesh four for 18) lost to Sri Aurobindo Vidyamandir 203 for six in 27.5 overs (Dhanu Kumar 51, Kallesh Bellad 42, Sunil Kumar 26).

Milind, Kiran shine

V.R. Milind's 121 and T.M. Kiran's allround show (50 n.o. and six for 23) helped Bangalore City gain a 211-run first innings lead over Tumkur in a KSCA under-16 inter-zonal tournament match that concluded in a draw here on Wednesday.

The scores: Bangalore City 318 for six in 90 overs (V.R. Milind 121, K.N. Bharath 60, T.M. Kiran 50 n.o., Sharath 28, Dhanush 26, R. Nikhil four for 90) drew with Tumkur 107 in 42 overs (T.M. Kiran six for 23).

President's XI 101 in 53.3 overs (Madhu Sudhan 39, Irfan Inamdar three for 25) and 97 for four in 31 overs (Narendra Bhandari 34 n.o., Madhu Sudhan 28 n.o.) drew with Raichur 105 in 42.3 overs (Zavid Taviladar 27, Nithish three for 28).

Vice President's XI 136 in 46.4 overs (Abhisekh Reddy 83, Bhuvan Ponnappa three for 33) drew with Mysore 323 for seven in 87 overs (H.R. Kiran 78, Kushal 74, S. Pradeep 65, Preetham 28, Abhishek Reddy five for 41).

ASC triumphs

ASC emerged triumphant in the 32nd State-level hockey tournament, for the Kodava Cup, here on Wednesday.

ASC beat BEML 1-0 in a final that saw the two teams play with a lot of circumspection and some tight defending. Harpreet Singh scored in the 46th minute.

Easy for Vasu SC

Vasu Sports Club (Hubli) scored a 3-1 win over Dharwad's Om Sai in the B division hockey league encounter here on Wednesday. Narendra Jadhav (2) and Rakesh Bellary scored for the winner after Chimoy Chengappa had put Om Sai ahead.

MEG-JSW final

MEG and JSW entered the final of the Karnataka State ‘A' division volleyball championship with comprehensive wins in the semifinals at the Kanteerava indoor stadium here on Wednesday.

MEG swept aside CIL 25-13, 25-20, 25-13, while JSW took full advantage of a dysfunctional South-Western Railways side to secure a 25-13, 25-20, 25-13 win.

In the second semifinal, South-Western Railways was unable to reproduce its authoritative display from Tuesday and succumbed to a well-drilled JSW.

As the much-touted duo of Imtiyaz and M. Vinod misfired, the side from Bellary took full advantage. Vinod's namesake on the other side of the court shone as JSW secured a straightforward win.

The results: Men: Semifinals: MEG bt CIL 25-13, 25-20, 25-13; JSW bt SWR 25-18, 25-20, 25-23.

Women: Sports Hostel bt Taurians Sports Club 25-14, 25-12, 25-12 .

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