Gujarat v Tamil Nadu, Ranji Trophy Elite, 1st day, Motera December 13, 2011

Abhinav cashes in on good form


Five rounds into the Ranji season, Abhinav Mukund is yet to have a failure. He has scored runs in all corners of India, against varied attacks of impressive pedigree. And it was more of the same as Tamil Nadu took on Gujarat at Motera. By stumps on the first day, Abhinav had powered to an unbeaten 150, guiding his team to an imposing 288 for 2. Given his good form and well-known appetite for big scores, one wouldn't bet against him getting to his second double-hundred of the season on the second day.

"I am happy with the effort, but would like to carry on and get a huge score tomorrow," Abhinav told ESPNcricinfo. " It was a flat wicket, but it did a bit in the morning session. The ball was swinging, and M Vijay got a really good ball in the first over. [Gujarat medium pacer] Ishwar Chaudhary was a constant threat since he got the ball to angle in and straighten."

Abhinav was backed up by S Badrinath, who shrugged off a long injury lay-off to produce a century that suggested he hasn't lost the touch that made him the highest run-getter in 2010. Together the pair added 223 runs for the second wicket, batting through the bulk of the day.

"It has always been great to bat with Badri," Mukund said. "He talks a lot in the middle, and he mentions all the little important things that make a difference to your batting. He knows exactly what goes on during a big stand, he watches you closely from the other end and guides you well. In the last few years, we have developed this habit of sharing some big partnerships, and it was good to produce another one today."

Abhinav, like Badrinath and Vijay, began the season with plenty to prove, having lost favour with the India selectors, but has flourished under the challenge. Vijay, however, has endured a difficult season, making only 121 runs from seven innings. But Abhinav believes his opening partner hasn't much luck this season.

"He's been working really hand, and things are definitely about to turn around soon for him," Abhinav said. "He has got out to a couple of very good balls and also been run-out once. As an opener, you could miss out at times on easy tracks, after getting a difficult ball early. He has got only one start in four innings, but I am sure we will have a big partnership soon."

On paper, the Gujarat attack is probably the easiest Abhinav has encountered so far. The double-hundred against Haryana came under pressure, as TN were chasing the first-innings lead against an attack including Amit Mishra. Abhinav also made a match-winning 83 at Eden Gardens against a Bengal attack led by the in-form Ashok Dinda. But, personally, he rates the 99 he scored on a treacherous Ferozshah Kotla pitch against the challenging new-ball pairing of Ashish Nehra and Parvinder Awana as his best innings so far this season. During that effort, he was struck by a Pradeep Sangwan delivery that took off to hit his jaw, forcing him to retire hurt on 39. The blow made it diffcult to talk, but he was feeling comfortable enough to bat.

"That 99 was special, since it came on a difficult track with a sore jaw. After getting hit, I was finding it difficult to see the ball, and the bounce was unpredictable. That will probably be up there with the best knocks I have played. Equally, in the Haryana game, I built on my century to get a double-ton which was quite satisfying since we were losing wickets at the other end."

The season has been a success on the personal front so far, and Abhinav isn't letting the disappointment of missing the flight to Australia affect that. "When you're not in the national team, it is disappointing, but it is very important to move on. I am thankful for the experience I got in England and West Indies. It definitely helps you, and you come back to domestic cricket as a much better batsman after spending time with guys who have over 10,000 runs. I have progressed as a batsman from those experiences and retain the hunger to score big runs.

"Making a comeback is not on my hands, and I am not thinking about national selection now. My first goal is to keep doing well, and win the Ranji Trophy for my side."

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • raghavaraju on December 16, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    t.n has produced batsmen from te srinivasan to mukund who scored tons of runs in the ranji but come cropper in the tests.ramesh,vijay,badani,sriram,robin,karthik all of them flattered to deceive.

  • TR on December 15, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    Abhinav, please score double hundreds , triple hundreds and on and on.. That will force the selectors to bring you back in national team. We all know it was injustice they dropped you after just one tough Eng series, where you fared far better than most and where most batsmen completely failed but are still sitting in the India team. Good luck. I am sure you will become a successful test batsman for India.

  • Dummy4 on December 15, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    Right fom his schooldays till now he has the temperment to stay on the wicket for long hours.. his hunger for runs is enormous and he has the application to play the ball on merit and never get tempted or carried away after scoring a 50 or a 100 and thats the speciality about abhi..

  • Senthil on December 14, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Well Played Abinav. Excellent Innings and you are scoring in all Matches. Hope you carry on the good form and keep scoring. You will comeback to Indian team very soon. All the best :-)

  • P Subramani on December 14, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    There have been some very good players from Tamil Nadu and maybe elsewhere as well, who somehow failed to get the approval of the selectors. V Shivaramakrishnan was a prolific scoring opener who just could not make it. Probably because Gavaskar and Srikanth used to open those days for India. Then there was the Lawrence of Tamil Nadu cricket. T E Srinivasan, who was not just a big and consistent scorer but had the defiance which is the hallmark of greatness in many. I hope Mukund gets back to the Test level because he has it in him possibly. He is a big scorer and has most of the shots. He should polish up his hooks or at least become a natural ducker either under the ball or swaying out of the way. The fact that he batted after having been hit on the jaw recently shows that the boy is gritty enough. Now is the time to step in and return in the manner of Mohinder Amarnath the legend of blood and gore who is now a selector.He was also a great hooker upon his return to Tests.

  • sam on December 14, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    IPL more or less destroyed (or at least put a massive dent) on Murali Vijay's prmising test career. When he first came on the international scene he looked an organized opening batsman with a very good front foot game but needed to work a lot on his back-foot game. His backfoot game has had no improvement even his front foot game has suffered. Nowadays the only shot he is comfortable playing at is the slog over midwicket (like Raina)

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    IMHO he was a little unlucky to miss out on the reserve opener slot for the Aus tour. He showed good application against England but was guilty of not sealing his spot. I still believe he has a future in the Indian team once the big guns retire. All the best to him

  • Dummy4 on December 14, 2011, 1:31 GMT

    After getting Test match experience in West Indies and England, Mukund now plays well to score 100+ against tough teams with high confidence. He will soon emerge as best opening batsman after Sewhag and Gambhir.

  • Dummy4 on December 13, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    "Making a comeback is not on my hands, and I am not thinking about national selection now. My first goal is to keep doing well, and win the Ranji Trophy for my side" - way to go son...but pl dont play IPL even if u fall upon a chance somehow...

  • Dummy4 on December 13, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    When selection committee will see Abhinav Mukund. He is not a test batsman only consider him in oneday. He is handy spinner too. What he need to do more to select in Indian team.

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