BENGALURU:“Nothing like ending the season on a high with Deodhar Trophy in our hand,” said Karnataka coach PV Shashikanth, who has made some special plans to help the state win back-to-back titles. After winning the Vijay Hazare Trophy last month, there is an air of confidence among the Karnataka players, who will have to be at their best, once again, as they prepare to face India B in the Deodhar Trophy final at HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Thursday.
Though Karnataka emerged victorious in both their league matches to reach the final, the level of competition in Deodhar Trophy is intense with top players in the opposition camp eager to make an impression in the 50-over format. “Deodhar Trophy is a premier tournament and it is tough. The selectors have picked the best players too. They are vying for a place in the Indian team,” Shashikanth told Express.
Karnataka cannot afford to take India B lightly especially the latter came close to beating the Vijay Hazare champions in the round-robin stage. Shreyas Gopal’s three-wicket haul played an important role in the nail biting win, and Shashikanth is wary of the threat India B brings to the table.
With players like Shreyas Iyer, GH Vihari, Siddhesh Lad, Manoj Tiwary, Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul and Harshal Patel in the opposition camp, they have the ammunition to spoil Karnataka’s party. “We have a plan for each of their batsmen. There is a specific plan in place as to how our batsmen should tackle their bowlers during the,” said Shashikanth.
The Karun Nair-led team have been remarkable in all departments of the game in this competition. Despite their in-form player Mayank Agarwal failing to score big, Ravikumar Samarth and Pavan Deshpande took over the mantle. Similarly if T Prasidh was their standout bowler in Vijay Hazare, the spin duo of Shreyas and K Gowtham have taken 10 wickets between them.
This has more or less been the story of Karnataka this season. They are not a team dependent on a few individuals. If their big guns fail, someone or the other shoulders responsibility, which is the hallmark of a great team.
“Despite not having the services of KL Rahul and Manish Pandey, someone or the other is always standing up. Samarth has been a class act. He is enjoying his batting and has added more shots to his repertoire. Now, he has opened out and become a positive batsman. Also, Pavan has been playing some important knocks,” added the former Karnataka player.
After having performed so consistently this season, Karnataka will be eager to end the season on a high. Winning the title could be the icing on the cake.ashim.