Abhimanyu has ace up his sleeve


The 20-year-old arrived in Meerut for Karnataka’s Ranji Trophy season-opener against Uttar Pradesh not so much in a blaze of publicity but with rave reviews from some of the modern-day giants of Karnataka cricket.

In the space of one afternoon, he justified the expectations of his illustrious City-mates, the likes of Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, with one of the more memorable exhibitions of fast bowling in domestic cricket in recent times.
On a surface with a little bit of assistance, Mithun worked up tremendous pace, showed enough intelligence and maturity in sizing up weaknesses of rival batsmen, and displayed the skills required to home in on those weaknesses with the practised ease of a veteran.

It wasn’t merely the fact that he picked up five for 63 in his first bowl in first-class cricket that was eye-catching. The entire package has “class” written all over it, a package that needs careful nurturing and mature handling if he is to do justice to his unquestioned talent.

Standing at first slip for a majority of the time when Mithun was working the batsmen over, Dravid couldn’t but have reflected on the past, when another tearaway from Karnataka, Javagal Srinath, was making waves at the domestic level.
As ball after ball thudded into wicket-keeper Thilak Naidu’s gloves, Dravid would have allowed himself a quiet smile or two, satisfied that his faith in the young lad had been vindicated.

Srinath went on to establish himself as India’s second most successful medium-pacer behind Kapil Dev; Mithun’s journey has just begun, and whilst whatever he dished out on Wednesday was commendable, the temptation to draw comparisons with his predecessor from Mysore must be resisted.

Steady climb
Mithun’s initiation into cricket began just three years back, as a 17-year-old PU student. To have climbed the charts in such a short span of time in such stunning fashion is indicative of his talent and his willingness to work hard.
This Abhimanyu has broken through the chakravyuha successfully; how he handles the rest of the battle is the million-dollar question only he, and time, can answer.

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