Vinay Kumar has stated that it is odd for him to play against Karnataka - his home for as many as years as he can remember - as he prepares to represent Puducherry in Vijay Hazare Trophy quarters. While admitting there will be a lot of emotions, Kumar added that he would treat it just like a game.
After having a great run of form in the plate group, where they breezed past the opponents at a canter to secure a quarter-final spot against the Group A and B toppers Karnataka, it has become too odd an equation for the two men who were at the forefront of Karnataka's two most glorious years. Vinay Kumar will spearhead the bowling line-up while J. Arun Kumar will oversee the affairs in his capacity as Puducherry coach.
"We have a very good team and definitely Karnataka is a very strong side. I never thought I was going to play against Karnataka. But it's cricket. We just need to play to win. I'm looking at it as one more game. Definitely there will be a lot of emotion involved, but when it comes to business, it's business. I never thought that I would be playing so soon against them in an important game.
"It's a bit similar to how in the IPL and KPL, my close friends could be in the opposite teams but we needed to win that game," Vinay said on the eve of their quarter-final, reported ESPNCricinfo.
After being elevated to the position of captaincy, Manish Pandey has been in sublime touch throughout the tournament, scoring 505 runs from eight matches at an average of 101. Having played with Pandey for the longest time, Vinay knows a thing or two about his friend's weaknesses, and he would try to exploit that on the Sunday showdown.
"He's performed in every game. I've been watching his scores and he's doing superbly. Being a captain and performing like that shows his calibre, and you can see the difference in the team - they've ended up top of the group."
Arun Kumar quickly added, "He (Pandey) is playing his natural game as captain, (but) there will be a bit of pressure now since it's a quarter-final. Like I said, it's just a matter of one ball."