R Vinay Kumar, the victorious Ranji Trophy captain from Karnataka who played 41 internationals for India – one Test, 31 ODIs and 9 T20Is between 2010 and 2013 – gave his best whenever he was on the field. As a right-arm medium-pacer, he bowled his heart out on the Indian pitches, playing 139 first-class matches for 504 wickets, 141 List A matches for 225 sticks and 181 T20s for 194 wickets. Even in his last season of active playing (2019-20), for his adopted side Puducherry after leaving Karnataka so as to not block the place of a young fast bowler breaking into the side, he was both economical and among wickets, leading from the front.
Having called it quits from the game last week, Vinay is currently playing in the Road Safety World Series for India Legends alongside his India and IPL team-mates including Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Md Kaif, Zaheer Khan among others in Raipur. In this exclusive interview with news18.com, the 37-year-old Vinay, hailing from Davanagere in Karnataka, pours his heart out on how his career shaped up.
“The key was playing in IPL from its first season. Having played for Karnataka and then to go on to play for India, IPL was the link between the domestic and international cricket. When I played in the IPL, I got the opportunity to play with all the Indian stars and all the international players. I would not have got that opportunity playing only domestic cricket. After playing in the IPL, my thinking process changed, the decision-making changed. That helped me perform at the international level” he said.
“The experience you gain while playing for the country will always help you when you play for your State. There were so many positive things being with the Indian team like how to adapt to situations and knowing the strengths and weaknesses of my players. I learnt from my own experience that knowing my players as much as knowing the opposition well has helped. I will know how to use my players according to situations, how to get the best from my players. Playing under different captains for Karnataka, India, IPL teams and other teams helped me develop as a cricketer. It is my responsibility as a captain to help my team-mates” he opined on playing under Dhoni.