Making the most of his chance

Making the most of his chance

Abhinav Mukund compiled a largely struggle-free 81 in India’s second innings of the opening Test, a knock that in the normal circumstances would have guaranteed him a place in the next Test. But then these aren’t normal circumstances.

There is a stiff competition for the opening slots with KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay in a constant game of musical chairs to occupy the two slots. Abhinav, with a good run in the domestic cricket, had given himself a second wind in Tests following Dhawan’s poor form but he may have just blown a chance to make himself the first-choice opener after coming a cropper in the first-innings. In the same innings, Dhawan stroked his way to 190 ensuring his place in the second Test with a fit-again Rahul expected to walk into the playing XI.

Abhinav tried to put things in a different perspective. “I have the opportunity to do something in this Test,” said the southpaw when asked as to how tough it is to perform without being the first-choice batsman. “I don’t want to think ahead to the next Test. Being the first-choice opener or second-choice opener, it doesn’t make a difference. When I get a chance in the middle, I want to capitalise on it. That’s what I thought,” he reasoned.

There was a time when the Tamil Nadu batsman was even dropped from his State team that had almost driven him out of the game. The experience, however, has put him in a good stead to deal with ups and downs and he knows how to handle himself when he will be on the benches come the second Test in Colombo. 

“There was a point of time – and I am very honest about it – that I was (not) raring to even put on whites. I wasn’t part of any team, I wasn’t part of any first-class team. There was a time when I was dropped from my own first-class team. To have this opportunity to be part of the Indian team is such a huge bonus. I take every game as an opportunity, that’s all. If I am part of the team, not part of the team, again, I will try to do my best wherever I am,” he offered.

Abhinav made his Test debut along with his skipper Virat Kohli, with whom he shared a 133-run stand for the third wicket on Friday, six years ago in West Indies but their careers have traversed in opposite directions since then. The left-hander did get a chance to play in the subsequent tour of England but after scores of zero and three in the Nottingham Test, he lost his place and had to wait for almost seven years to play another match for India.

“I had a lot of time to think about it,” he said of his last appearance. “I had six years to think about it. I think you had too. I don’t want to talk about it. I have gone through my ups and downs, and that is a long long time back. I don’t even want to get there. I am happy I am back in the squad. I am disappointed I didn’t get to three figures today but I am happy I want to be out in the middle for India and keep performing,” he offered.

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