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June 13, 2011
Abhimanyu Mithun, the India fast bowler, is back in the Test squad after injuries ruled Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth out of the tour of the West Indies, and is hoping that this latest opportunity will give him the chance to establish himself in the squad. Mithun made his Test debut against Sri Lanka last July - he replaced Zaheer who missed that series with an injury as well - but was then overlooked in favour of Jaidev Unadkat for India's tour of South Africa at end of 2010.
"It feels good to be picked again," the 21-year-old Mithun told the Times of India after a practice stint on Saturday. "I did expect to go to South Africa but ... I am hoping to get a chance and prove myself again, like I did on my debut in Sri Lanka."
Mithun took six wickets at an average of 62 in three Tests against Sri Lanka, similar figures to Ishant Sharma, who took seven wickets at 61.71. He was initially disappointed about not going to South Africa, but said he was lucky to have received good advice from a number of people who told him to concentrate on playing for the love of the game rather than obsess over not playing for India. In particular, he gave credit to Sanath Kumar, the Karnataka coach over the past two seasons, according to the newspaper.
"Initially I felt sad and at the net sessions that followed I did lose some concentration, focus and so on. Fortunately for me, a lot of people spoke to me and advised me well. Everyone encouraged me, told me I am a good bowler.
"But the best advice I got was when I was told that when I started playing cricket I did so as I loved the game. At that point I wasn't thinking of playing for India and so why think about it now, I was asked. That set me thinking and slowly I regained my confidence and got back to normal."
When asked whether Test cricket was too much pressure to handle, Mithun said he actually found it easier than playing domestic cricket as it wasn't his job to lead the attack. "I found it easier in the Tests. There I was a rookie, I only had to look after my bowling, for which to the seniors were very much around to help. I was freer in a way. But when I got back to first class cricket, it was very different. The expectations had gone up and I was looked upon as someone who will get wickets whenever I bowled.
"That was something I found it tough to deal with initially but slowly got used to that as well and started to enjoy my bowling once again."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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