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Learnt from McGrath to be patient in pursuit of wickets: K Vignesh

The Tamil Nadu youngster speaks about his debut season

To finish as the highest wicket-taker for your team and walk into the Irani Cup squad in your debut first-class season is quite an achievement and K Vignesh has done just that. The 22-year old pacer claimed 37 wickets from nine matches for Tamil Nadu in the 2016-17 season with a best of nine for 70. 

Looking back on his journey that paved the way for a spot in the Rest of India squad, Vignesh said, “It has been a great season for me so far and I am looking forward to a good season ahead. It is really surprising and I am really happy that I got selected for Rest of India. No one will dream of a debut season to pan out like this but that is what the idea is all about. This is just the beginning for me, I need to pick those good positive things and move forward.”

He began the season with a five-for against Mumbai in the first innings of the opening match. Recalling his debut, the youngster said, “I made my debut in Lahli which everybody knows is a good wicket (for pacers) in India, so no one can dream of a better debut than that. From that game, I started picking things. My team-mates, captain Abhinav Mukund, and every support staff member has been supportive. Also, coaches back home have been supportive. They have been monitoring me for a long time. I am getting good feedback from them.

“I had been preparing well before the season. The TNPL (Tamil Nadu Premier League) was a big boost for me. I picked up the form from there and carried it on to Ranji Trophy. Now, I am looking forward to continue in the Irani Cup,” he mentioned when asked about his preparation.

While the local leagues have helped in getting into match form, the pacer has been working diligently with former Australia pacer Glenn McGrath on his skills. “I have been working with Chemplast which has players like M Vijay and Piyush Chawla. Also, I am part of the MRF Pace Foundation. I work under Glenn McGrath so it has been a great exposure. He insists on line and length. We know what kind of a bowler he was. He keeps things very simple. He tries to tell us practical things not technical issues. He shares the experience on how to bowl on different wickets; and how to be patient in pursuit of a wicket. I have been working on my technical skills,” he elaborated while giving an insight into his bowling.

The hard work paid off as Vignesh consistently tested the opponents and has four four-wicket hauls and two five-wicket hauls to his credit. Speaking about his bowling he said, “I am bowler who can bowl patiently and bowl long spells so I will just keep working there. I will try to test the batsman with swing and decent length. That’s my strength.”

Discussing bowling alongside the likes of Asiwn Crist, T Natrajan and Co in the recently concluded Ranji season, he said, “Playing at neutral venues everyone was keen on seeing batsmen how they do well. This time the bowlers have put their hands up and done well. I give credit to the entire bowling unit with the support staff and coach, (Hrishikesh) Kanitkar and also (L) Balaji. They have been amazing and we have been doing a brilliant job.”

Prajakta Pawar
Prajakta Pawar

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Always wanted to see Gujarat lift Ranji Trophy: Juneja

Gujarat's middle-order batsman and coach Vijay Patel talk about memorable final

It was a hard-fought win as Gujarat battled it out with defending champions Mumbai over five days in Indore to lift the Ranji Trophy for the first time.

While Parthiv Patel scored 143, he was ably supported by Manprit Juneja (54) after they were on 89 for three in the first session to chase down the 312 runs on the last day. Earlier in the game, the duo had forged a 120-run stand that helped secure a first innings lead. While Parthiv made 90 in the first innings, Juneja had scored 77.

Speaking to BCCI.TV, Manprit Juneja, who was involved in a 116-run stand with Parthiv Patel said, “It hasn’t sunk in at all. We are so happy, so ecstatic I can’t tell you! We just don’t want this moment to ever end.”

Discussing the two crucial partnerships, Juneja explained, “Both of us are pretty aggressive in our batting ways. Today (Day 5) when I went in to bat, I was pretty clear in my mind, (that) we don’t want to defend the day out. We want to chase it and we discussed about it. We just wanted to go after the bowling because that was the only way we could get rid of the pressure. Once the boundaries started flowing, the momentum shifted on our side.”

While his second innings didn’t have nervous moments, Juneja was dropped on 15 by Shreyas Iyer in the first. Asked what he told himself after getting a life that enabled him to build the innings from there on, the batsman said, “When I got that dropped chance, I felt that I should be a little more cautious and then start attacking.”

Speaking about contributing to a winning cause of this magnitude he said, “It feels great. The only thing that I have always been thinking of while playing for Gujarat is that I want to help Gujarat become Ranji Trophy champions. I am so happy that I have been part of this brilliant side in winning all the championships that we have till now – the Syed Mushatq Ali Trophy (T20), the Vijay Hazare Trophy (one-day) and now the Ranji Trophy. It feels great to have contributed on such an important day. This is what we worked hard for the entire year.”

The youngster’s contribution was lauded by team coach, Vijay Patel as well. “Manprit rose to the occasion. Even in the earlier matches when it mattered, he knew how to handle the pressure and he did it for Gujarat today as well.

“All the players knew the importance of the match. If we win, we were going to make history. So, they were also very enthusiastic,” he added.

He also applauded captain Parthiv’s role. “Parthiv is one of our senior players in the side. Axar (Patel) and Jasprit (Bumrah) were not available so he had more responsibility on his shoulders. I must say that he led from the front,” Patel mentioned.

Asked, what was his advise to the batsmen ahead of the final day, the coach stated, “We trusted our batting ability. Our top six batsmen are in good form. And the way it started yesterday (on Day 4), Priyank (Panchal) and Samit (Patel) got us 47 runs without a loss of wickets until stumps. We knew this wicket was a true wicket. Normally the red soil wicket breaks after the fourth day and it is difficult to bat on the the fifth day, but this was a brilliant wicket. We had a good start. We spoke that even if we lose one or two wickets, we will not panic because we know the capabilities of our batsmen.

“It’s an exciting moment for us. Gujarat has created history. We the reached final (before) but this is the first victory so obviously we are very proud,” he concluded. 

Prajakta Pawar
Prajakta Pawar

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