Experienced pacer Vinay Kumar on Thursday (March 22) backed the newly appointed Kolkata Knight Riders’ skipper Dinesh Karthik to put up a good show in the 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled to commence on April 7.
Karthik, who recently became an overnight star by hitting a last-ball six against Bangladesh to help India clinch the Nidahas Trophy, will have to fill the big shoes of Gautam Gambhir – the two times IPL winning skipper. During the IPL auction in January, Gambhir was roped in by Delhi Daredevils after the southpaw had requested KKR to not bid or use RTM card for him.
"He did not lead many matches for Tamil Nadu, but that does not mean he's not a good leader. He's a very good leader, hopefully, he will do well. We have many seniors, have to help each other," Vinay Kumar quoted by PTI as saying.
Karthik has played for five franchises in IPL thus far that include Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions. He has featured in a total of 152 matches across 10 seasons before joining KKR.
As a skipper, Karthik led Tamil Nadu to the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament win over Bengal in 2009-10, and also captained India Red to the Duleep Trophy title last year. He also led Albert Tuti Patriots to the Tamil Nadu Premier League title in 2016.
"He's really a good guy. I've played most of my cricket with him or against him. The way he played for India in the final was amazing," Vinay said referring to his 8-ball 29 against Bangladesh in Twenty20 tri-series final.
"From nowhere he took the game and finished the game. He's a very nice guy and will definitely do well for KKR. I look forward, it's all about play as a team," he added.
Sharing his views on the Decision Review System (DRS) which will be implemented for the first time in IPL this year, Vinay Kumar said: "It will be good for teams. In the Ranji Trophy teams suffered due to poor umpiring. I don't blame the umpires they are humans. But DRS will surely help."
KKR will field plenty of youngsters this time around beginning with three U-19 World Cup winners – Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.
"They have not played any IPL matches but that doesn't mean they are not good. Everybody has to perform well. Youngsters will bring in more energy on the field. They are good enough, that's where they are here."
"It's very important to share your knowledge with them. Whatever I've learned I want to make sure that these guys are benefited, and in a right frame of mind to deliver. I will give them the right space to do well," Vinay said.
Vinay Kumar has been playing IPL since its inception. He was first picked up by RCB where he continued till 2010. The 34-year-old played for the Kochi Tuskers in 2011 and then for KKR in 2014 before being traded to Mumbai Indians in 2015. During this year’s IPL auction, KKR once again secured Vinay for his base price of INR 1 crore.
"It's a great feeling coming back to KKR. I was a part of KKR four years back when we won the tournament. I'm really happy to be back," Vinay Kumar stated.
"We have a very good bowling lineup with (Mitchell) Starc, (Sunil) Narine, (Mitchell) Johnson, I'm really excited. I will see how it goes."
"I'm preparing myself fully. I will give my best when I'm given an opportunity," he concluded.