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Vinay Kumar makes a difference in ODIs

Press Trust Of India
Feb 17, 2012 at 10:33am IST

Brisbane: India medium pacer R Vinay Kumar is not on anyone's mind and he would just like it the way it is as long as his skipper MS Dhoni keeps turning to him and batsmen keep nibbling at his swinging deliveries.

The Karnataka medium-pacer has beggared belief with nine wickets at a staggering average 20.11 -- a wicket every 25th ball -- in the ongoing Commonwealth Bank one-day series. With the likes of Lasith Malinga and Ryan Harris in the fray, his is the case of the meek who has inherited the earth.

Oh, he must have bagged tail-enders. Or, his economy rate must be atrocious. Surely, the scalps are to catches in the deep when the batsmen are going for maximum. All wrong, for he has mostly got Pontings and Jayawardenes and Warners; his economy rate is 4.89 and the catches are unerringly the pouches in the slip cordon.

Vinay Kumar makes a difference in ODIs

Vinay Kumar has beggared belief with nine wickets at an average of 20.11 in the ongoing tri-series.

This is his best moment yet but selectors have very little to do with it. He was not an original selection to Australia till last-minute injury to Varun Aaron put him on plane to Down Under.

He was also way down the pecking order when WACA Test beckoned last month. Yet, Dhoni decided to go with four quicks and Vinay earned his Test cap.

The euphoria lasted only four hours. Brought in to bowl the sixth over of the innings, the 28-year-old saw a Warner hit sail over his head into the stands in his very first over.

The pocket-dynamo opener was to smash one more six and take 43 runs off his 36 balls on way to a blistering 180 runs.

His dream had turned into a nightmare all too swiftly.

Fortunately, Dhoni believed in him. The Indian captain surely can't have enough of Vinay in shorter formats of the game. He was put through his pace in two Twenty20 encounters and then preferred, at times, to proven quality of Praveen Kumar in the one-day triangular series.

Each of such acts of faith by Dhoni were responded with wickets by Vijay.

"Dhoni is a great believer and he kept on backing. Once I spoke to him, he said 'I won't believe on pace because if you have skill, it is more than enough. If you bowl in the right areas, you will definitely be difficult for the batsmen to hit'," Vijay said.

Without Dhoni's backing, it's a moot point if Vinay would still be in the mix for coach Duncan Fletcher is an avowed fan of express pace and doesn't see any logic in investing in medium-pacers.

Vinay's strength has been his outswingers but his repertoire has constantly grown over the last few seasons.

There are now leg-cutters and excellent slower deliveries, not to speak of a few which he can now also bring in to right-handers without any discernible change in action.

Always experimenting, he once copied Lasith Malinga's slinging action to claim Adam Gilchrist in IPL. Interestingly, he has never tried this trick on a one-day field.

"IPL is such a format where bowling one dot ball is very crucial. I just tried that new action to bowl a dot ball. I never had it in my mind to get a wicket with that ball. I am lucky that I got Gilchrist with it," he said.

"In T20, you should do some different things. That format is good for that, but in one-dayers you should keep it simple," added Vinay.

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