R Samarth: Away from the frenzy of the IPL a batsman digs his heels in the domestic circuit
In the days and age of frenetic Twenty20 action, when everything is rapid and whizzes past with neck-breaking speed, there is a certain calmness about players who apply their art in Ranji Trophy, players who work hard away from all the spotlight and all the frenzy. These players take pride in being called Ranji players and have the zeal to keep working hard, for they believe that basics are imperative to be successful.
One such player is Ravikumar Samarth, a Karnataka lad, who has become one of the talks of the town after his good display in the previous season for the state. In 20 first-class matches, the right-hander has scored 1371 runs at an average of 40.32. He has 4 centuries and 5 half-centuries to his name.
These numbers are a testament to his potential, and as the new season is about to commence, the man has set some lofty standards for himself.
"I do not set any personal targets, my main focus is the process, I work hard both on and off the field. I enjoy my cricket and have full confidence in my preparations because I know I have worked really hard and there are bound to be benefits. I am feeling good, and now hope that everything goes well and I get loads of runs this year”, Samrth said in an exclusive chat to Sportskeeda.
This is a statement of a confident man, a person who is well versed in his game and can express himself with ease both with the bat and then with words. The young man is certainly not short on effort, and if his words are to be believed, he has invested a lot in his training this time around.
After the impressive season last year, there are bound to be expectations from him this season, more so because Karnataka could not win the title last year.
"I train for almost 5 days a week, bat a lot, do a lot of physical training. I have increased the intensity and am working on my skills too. I am only 23, and thus am fit enough to play in all formats. "
Virat Kohli has certainly set high standards when it comes down to the fitness regime, and his focus on fitness is like a yardstick for all the other players, more so in the domestic circuit. Samarth too believes that fitness is paramount.
"I work hard on my fitness, but then by God's grace I have a good metabolic rate, and can burn all those chocolates which I consume, but then I have to see to it that it does not become a habit, and thus I to focus on what I eat too."
Unlike previous years, the domestic season now starts with Karnataka Premier League and ends with the Indian Premier League, and thus the players have to be in tune with the varying formats and adjust their game accordingly.
Samarth, who is an integral part of Bijapur Bulls, the defending champions of the KPL, credits CEO of the team, Sudhindra Shinde for building a strong team and for keeping all bases covered. The bulls boasts of players like Robin Uthappa , Abhimanyu Mithun and KC Carriappa, go into the tournament as one of the favourites.
"Our CEO has been brilliant with the players from the first season. He could be lucky too, as he has gone into the auctions with an agenda and has got all the players which he wanted. This year too we have a very solid team. We have experience at the top, and then few good young hitters in the middle order. And then we have decent seam bowlers, all in all, the team looks in very good shape."
Cricket is no longer confined to one single format, and the players have to adjust their game according to the numerous different challenges faced. The players too are aware that they cannot be a one trick pony, and in order to have a successful career, they have to be flexible in their approach.
"The way the new generation thinks, switching formats should not be a problem because we know that there are multiple formats and we have to adapt ourselves accordingly. It has to be a mental adjustment more than anything, and if you have the game to play in the 4-day game, I am certain you can play any format, however, challenging and however different it might be."
“Neutral venues will not attract crowds"
Apart from being a resolute player, Samarth comes across as a person who is opinionated too and is not hesitant to put across his point about topics in and around the game.
Thus, the proposal of the BCCI's technical committee to play all Ranji Trophy matches in 2016-17 at neutral venues is one such topic which has evoked a lot of debate in and around the circuit.
While Samarth believes that is a step to make the competition more competitive, he feels the move could keep spectators out of the ground.
"Playing games at neutral venues will be fair to both the teams, this is not a problem. However, Ranji Trophy games could lose their sheen as it cannot be a crowd puller. For instance, whenever we played a home match, we got decent crowds if the matches were being played over the weekend. Unfortunately, neutral venues will not attract crowds."
Quite often a successful team is a result of a happy team, a team which bonds well in the dressing room and there is camaraderie between the players. The role of the senior players becomes imperative as they are the ones who can build a healthy atmosphere around the team.
Samarth too concurs with this belief and praises the role of senior men like Manish Pandey, Vinay Kumar and the rest for building a very vigorous environment.
"The International players are very friendly and jovial, and they are great to talk to. They come up to you with suggestions if they have observed something related to your technique. They also relate personal experiences and make things easier for you, all this without any hesitation. This helps the youngsters around a great deal.
The young man also recollected the mood in the camp when Karnataka could not qualify for the finals last year, and said that the disposition was very sombre around the team.
"We were very disappointed because we could not latch on to the opportunity and up until the last game in Maharashtra things were in our hand but we messed it all up. We just had to take a lead in the first innings, and we could not achieve this too, which was very disappointing indeed."
With the clarity displayed by Samarth, one can only hope that this young man goes on to have another bumper season, for there are all the ingredients to achieve colossal heights. He has begun in the right earnest, but like it should be, he is hungry for much more.
Bodes well for Karnataka and India in the future!