Vinay Kumar – The Davangere Express
Karnataka is known to produce quality bowlers who have further shone in their career for India at the international level. Although, India has always been a spin-friendly country, it has also given birth to promising fast bowlers with the zest to succeed on the big stage.
One such pace bowler is Vinay Kumar, who also hails from the same state, specifically from the city of Davangere that led to the coining of the term “Davangere Express”. Vinay was first picked to play in the Ranji trophy in 2004-05, where he showed glimpses of his talent by picking 23 wickets in a single season. He followed it up with a similar performance in the next two seasons that followed, also becoming the 2nd highest wicket-taker in the 2007-08 Ranji season with 40 wickets, only one short of the leading wicket-taker.
Vinay may not be an out and out fast bowler, but he does make up for the pace with his accurate outswingers and legcutters. From being an understudy to former Indian bowlers Dodda Ganesh and David Johnson, Vinay went on to mentor the likes of younger bowlers like Abhimanyu Mithun and Sreenath Aravind in the Karnataka bowling attack. With 46 wickets in the 2009-10 Ranji trophy, he doubled his chances of getting a break at the national level.
The international journey didn’t seem to start on a high note, as frequent niggles and dip in form meant that he would constantly be on the fringes of the Indian team. However, he has developed the art of picking timely wickets in Twenty20 cricket. In his 5 seasons with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Vinay scalped 72 wickets, becoming his side’s leading wicket-taker in the IPL.
However, with many upcoming youngsters competing to get into the national team, Vinay Kumar is currently in a do-or-die situation, where performance is the only criteria of a place in the team.
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