In July 2018, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that nine new teams would be competing in domestic competitions like the Ranji Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy starting from the 2018-19 season. One of the teams named was Puducherry.
An impressive second season at the domestic level saw the team from the union territory make the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy and narrowly miss out on making it to the knockout phase of the Ranji Trophy.
One of the top performers for Puducherry, KB Arun Karthik, believes the team has what it takes to take their game to the next level. According to him, Puducherry has a lot of good young talent coming through and if not for one bad game against Goa, could have made it to the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy as well.
“Puducherry is definitely a team that can play at the next level. We did really well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy too, qualifying for the quarterfinals. While we did well in the longer format, we were unable to qualify for the next round because of one bad game. We finished second, and unfortunately, only one team goes through to the next round. Moving forward, Puducherry has a lot of good talent coming up,” Arun Karthik said in an exclusive to Sportskeeda.
Arun Karthik lauded the cricket infrastructure in Puducherry
Arun Karthik also spoke highly about the cricket infrastructure back in Puducherry. The former Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman believes that the training facilities also played a part in the team’s success at the domestic level.
Arun Karthik also showered special praise on the pitches back home with them assisting pacers with bounce. The former RCB man’s approval of the pitches was backed up by Vinay Kumar’s 45 wickets in the Ranji Trophy.
“One great thing about Puducherry is their infrastructure. They have 5 grounds on one 100-acre campus with some excellent facilities. We’ve had great pitches as well, helping pacers with some good bounce. We did see someone like Vinay Kumar pick up a lot of wickets as well,” Arun Karthik added.
The former Assam cricketer also opened up on the BCCI’s decision to expand domestic cricket in the country and include teams that earlier did not play tournaments like the Ranji Trophy. While he believes that teams like Puducherry, Bihar and Uttarakhand do have decent teams, the experienced wicketkeeper recognises a gulf between the country’s best and some of the newer teams.
One possible solution to this would be to club the North-Eastern states into a single team, Arun Karthik believes. While the step would serve to provide opportunities to budding cricketers from the region, the former CSK cricketer believes this would help maintain the competitiveness of the tournaments.
“Bihar and Uttarakhand are also decent sides. Having played cricket at a higher level, and in group D, I can say that there is a bit of a gap,” Arun Karthik said.
“While cricket is not restricted to certain states, the authorities can bring together the North-Eastern states and form one team in order to help them be more competitive. They have some great bowlers, like Rex Singh for example, and some decent batsmen as well,” Arun Karthik added.Published 14 May 2020, 19:47 IST