But for a dropped catch by wicket-keeper Anmol Malhotra of Andhra Pradesh captain Siva Charan Singh, Punjab left-arm spinner Karan Kaila would have recorded a 10-wicket haul in an innings in the final of CK Nayudu Trophy for U-23 at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium in Patiala.
Karan, the Punjab captain, still stood proud for both his nine-wicket haul in the second innings and taking his team to title win. Backed by a five-wicket haul in the first innings, Karan’s 14 in the match also made him the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 49 wickets in seven games.
Was Karan thinking of a perfect 10? “Not when the third day started as I had three wickets to my name. But when I took the seventh Andhra wicket, I told myself, maybe, I could grab all 10. But then Anmol dropped Siva’s catch,” laughed the 22-year-old Punjab spinner, who was called to join the Punjab senior team in Delhi for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Punjab beat Andhra Pradesh by 101 runs. The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) rolled out a turning track in Patiala, giving home advantage to their team. The wicket offered so much help to the spinners that all 29 wickets were taken by tweakers, while one was taken by an Andhra Pradesh quick bowler. And 18 wickets fell on day one, 15 on day two and seven on day three.
Karan, who was in the India U-19 team for the Youth World Cup in Dubai in 2014, is yet to make his Ranji debut. He sees this performance as a gateway to establish his position in the state team in the longer format. “I hope my performances in the CK Nayudu tournament are taken into account and I am able to cement my place in the Punjab senior team,” said Karan, who was born to doctor parents and has done well for Punjab in U-16 and U-19 level.
Vijay Zol, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Hooda were part of the same India U-19 World Cup team that Karan played in. “All of them have played the Ranji Trophy and achieved more feats. I have lagged behind. I wish to restart my journey and get as many first-class matches as possible. This will give me a push,” added Karan, who had been a silver-medallist in the junior swimming nationals and aspired to be a swimmer. But destiny willed something else and the switch seems to have worked wonders for Karan.
Prasad criticises Patiala strip
Chandigarh: Former India cricketer and chairman of the junior selection committee, Venkatesh Prasad, was in Patiala for the Colonel CK Nayudu U-23 Trophy and rued the fact that such a turning track was laid out for the final by the host association. “We require good pitches in domestic matches to produce elite fast bowlers. Spinners have called the shots on this turning track, leaving no scope for fast bowlers,” said Prasad, a veteran of 33 Tests and 161 ODIs.
“By making pro-spin pitches in domestic cricket, we are destroying the fast bowling talent of the country,” Prasad said after inspecting the pitch at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium.