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‘I Could Have Definitely Played More Test Matches, But No Regrets’ Says Vinay Kumar

'I Could Have Definitely Played More Test Matches, But No Regrets' Says Vinay Kumar

Former India and Karnataka pacer R. Vinay Kumar, who quit all forms of cricket on Friday, has credited Indian Premier League (IPL) and the elaborate domestic structure for producing a battery of fast bowlers. The set-up, he said, allows experienced bowlers to take time off and youngsters to step up and take their place.

Jasprit Bumrah pulled out of the team, taking time off from the fourth and final Test.

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“I will talk only about the mental aspect. I will give credit to IPL, because IPL definitely helped all the bowlers to think in differently and get an opportunity to play with international cricketers. You play domestic cricket, Ranji Trophy for five-six years, the kind of maturity or experience that you gain by playing IPL for just two seasons,” Kumar, who played one Test and 31 ODIs, told IANS.

“Bowling to players like AB de Villiers, David Warner, Chris Gayle, Rohit Sharma in IPL or sitting out in the dugout and watching them — that kind of moulding helps you to quickly understand their game and bring adaptability. Working with international cricketers takes your thinking to a different level,” added Kumar, who is the highest wicket-taker among pace bowlers in domestic cricket.

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“People are maturing so quickly. I would say that both Ranji Trophy and IPL combine to give you so much experience within a short period of time,” he said.

“I will give you my example. It was great to work with Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis,” said the 37-year-old Karnataka pace bowler.

“I would have never got that opportunity — foreign fast bowlers, foreign players — in domestic cricket. That way, IPL has given exposure to everyone. It is playing a big role. Add to that, India A tours are also helping players to get to know conditions abroad.”

Kumar added that because of multiple options there is no dependency on a few bowlers.

“You have so many options. There are so many seniors. For example, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav — they can take a break whenever they want. They can choose matches to play. The workload is being monitored really well. There are so many bowlers who are playing T20Is, ODIs. Cricket is growing. They are playing some format or the other, going back and doing proper training and getting good recovery,” he said.

The former right-arm pace bowler, who played 139 first-class matches picking 504 wickets, the most by any Indian bowler in domestic cricket, said that he is happy with the way his career shaped up, though he feels he could have played a bit more international cricket.

“I am really happy with the way my career shaped up. Maybe I could have played more international matches, definitely with the red ball. I didn’t get many chances to play for India in Test cricket but I did play long for Karnataka in red-ball cricket. I don’t have any regrets.”

Kumar added that he loved taking on challenges and for him, breaking a partnership was as important as a five-wicket haul.

“I always used to take challenges and I was always very happy if I would come and break a partnership. It was like taking a five-wicket haul. Those kind of small, small challenges, breaking a partnership on a flat wicket, I always used to enjoy. Be it batting at the end or batting with the tail-enders or brilliant catches.”

Kumar talked about his debut Test and said that he was unlucky to have played as a fourth bowler since it restricted his role. He was criticised for not being incisive enough.

“I never thought my pace was less. People need to understand that I played as a fourth seamer in my first Test. I was kind of limited by my role that I was playing as the fourth bowler. And my role was to come and keep it tight,” he said.

“If I would have played as a second or a third seamer then the thinking process would have been different. Ishant, Umesh and Zaheer Khan were there. I kind of thought I am the fourth bowler and need to keep it this way. The best example of my pace came immediately in the ODIs after the Tests. They went so well. I was the same bowler, the same tour. I bowled at a good pace, good bouncers. People don’t understand. There are so many legends of the game. Most of them might have gone wrong in their first match.”

However, Kumar is grateful and happy with the way his career panned out.

“At the end of the day, that is life. Whatever opportunity I got — one-dayers, Ranji Trophy, IPL — I was happy that I gave my best,” he said.



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