Vinay Kumar

Born February 12, 1984 in Davangare, Karnataka, Ranganath Vinay Kumar comes from a very poor background. His father drove an auto-rickshaw for a living. His talent was first spotted when he was just 13, and he got full backing of him family to pursuit cricket as a career despite their humble background. On his birthday, Pramod Ananth lists 9 interesting facts the current Karnataka skipper.

1. Spotted as a batsman: His first Coach LM Prakash spotted Vinay Kumar as a 13-year-old in his hometown, where he was known for his batting talents. Prakash also provided Vinay Kumar with the necessary cricketing kits.

2. Graduation: Vinay Kumar is a BCom graduate, having secured his degree from ARG College of Arts & Commerce in Davangare. He is the eldest of three siblings, which include a younger brother and sister. His sister is also a BCom graduate.

3. First victims: Vinay Kumar made his First-Class debut for Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy match against Bengal in Kolkata in 2004. His first two victims were Rohan Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly. Karnataka, however, went on to lose the match by 116 runs, but Vinay Kumar finished with 28 wickets in his debut season.

4. Breakthrough season: 2007-08 can be considered as Vinay Kumar’s breakthrough season. He finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy with 40 scalps. He excelled in the 50-over fixtures too, claiming 21 wickets.

5. Maiden India call-up: Vinay Kumar was the leading wicket-taker at First-Class level in 2009-10 with 53 scalps. He also excelled in the limited-overs fixtures, with 12 wickets in Vijay Hazare Trophy and 19 wickets in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He also picked up 16 wickets in IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He topped the chart for pacers in the tournament, which led to his selection for ICC World T20 2010 in West Indies. Vinay Kumar played just one match in the competition against Sri Lanka, where he picked up a couple of wickets, those of Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara. Unfortunately, India lost the match and crashed out of the competition.

6. Likened to Venkatesh Prasad: Like Prasad, Vinay Kumar has relied on out-swingers and leg-cutters for most of his career. In an interview to TV9, Vinay Kumar admitted that his strength lies in out-swingers, and he has never really focussed on pace as much as accuracy. He also considers Javagal Srinath and Prasad as his idols.

7. Domestic success as captain: Vinay Kumar was appointed Karnataka skipper in 2012-13. He led Karnataka to back-to-back Ranji titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He was instrumental in both seasons, picking up 39 and 55 wickets respectively. He scored an unbeaten century in the final as Karnataka thrashed Tamil Nadu by an innings and 217 runs. Vinay Kumar also led Karnataka to Vijay Hazare Trophy wins on two occasions.

8. Forgettable Test debut: Vinay made his Test debut against Australia at WACA in January 2012 as Varun Aaron was injured for this match. With his lack of pace, he failed to trouble the batsmen, which was criticised by Wasim Akram, calling it “disappointing”. Opening batsmen Ed Cowan and David Warner treated his bowling with disdain, cutting, pulling, playing him inside out over cover and sweeping him at will, much to the embarrassment of the fast bowler. India lost the match within three days. Vinay Kumar has not played a Test since.

9. International century: Vinay Kumar returned figures of 9-0-102-1 against Australia in his home town Bangalore in 2013-14. He became the first Indian to concede a hundred runs in an ODI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (10-0-106-1) later ‘bettered’ his record.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at Cricketcountry.com. He is a sport enthusiast and a keen observer of cricket, the contests, and its personalities. When not tracking cricket, he follows the world’s soccer leagues and is somewhat partial towards Liverpool. His Twitter handle is @pramz)