No shame in losing to Karnataka - Abhinav
Soon after BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur handed over the coveted Ranji Trophy and its replica to Karnataka skipper Vinay Kumar, the Tamil Nadu squad, dressed in their practice attire, made a quiet exit to the dressing room.
While the Karnataka camp was celebrating their second successive Ranji Trophy title, with the players' wives and families present, the Tamil Nadu camp was so disappointed they didn't even pose for a photograph with the rolling runners-up trophy. After the kind of lop-sided contest witnessed in the final, it didn't come as a surprise that Tamil Nadu preferred to be far from the spotlight but they put up a brave front, with captain Abhinav Mukund saying there was no shame in the loss.
"I don't think there is any shame in losing to the side. I think they are a really good side, they played really good cricket over five days, they were consistent," Abhinav said. "Obviously there are areas that we have to work on but there is a ray of hope that I can see in this Tamil Nadu team. Youngsters are coming through and there are a lot of positives for us. We will take this back with us and probably come back stronger in the next season."
Once Karnataka's batsmen had weathered the storm by lunch on the second day, the match seemed to be heading towards one outcome. And Karnataka rubbed salt on Tamil Nadu's wounds by piling on a lead of 628 runs before bowling them out for 411 on the final day. The victory, with a margin of an innings and 217 runs, was set up by the four Karnataka pacers on the first day, who bundled Tamil Nadu out for a meagre 134 in the first two sessions of the match.
Vinay admitted that Karnataka went into the game with an additional seamer after considering the fact that Tamil Nadu had played all their home games on turning tracks.
"If you talk about the final, we wanted to go with the extra seamer," Vinay said. "We thought they would definitely struggle against the seamers because they were playing on turners and they won't play on the kind of wickets where they will get extra bounce or swing."
Vinay was "delighted" to finish as the first Karnataka captain to lift the trophy twice in succession. He also ended the season as the joint highest-wicket taker and added that the match did not pan out as easily as the scorecard suggested.
"I won't say it was easy," Vinay stated. "In the first innings, we bowled really well that's the result we have got now. Had they got around 300-350 runs, it would have been difficult. They are a good side. They bowled really well, but we tackled them well as a batting unit."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo