His effort of 5/70 against Delhi was Abhimanyu Mithun's second five-wicket haul of the season. And the speedster has already bagged 14 wickets to be the second joint highest wicket-taker for Karnataka along with captain R Vinay Kumar. For someone who had just 17 wickets from the previous two seasons, Mithun seems to have regained his range and rhythm.

For someone who relies more on pace than variations, the 28-year-old's Ranji Trophy journey last year was hit by injury. Not a constant member of the side, Mithun struggled to be the lethal customer of his not too distant past. Things turned from bad to worse when eyebrows were raised about his fitness following his ordinary show of 2/50 in Karnataka's disastrous quarterfinal against Tamil Nadu in Vizag. Upset by the negative responses, the seasoned campaigner lashed out at his detractors in an emotional social media post.

"Last year things didn't go well for me and I was really upset about it. Coming into the season, I was prepared to do well. We also have new coaches (PV Shashikant and G K Anil Kumar) who have encouraged me a lot. They gave me the confidence to go out and express myself," said Mithun.

Right from Karnataka's first game against Assam, Mithun has appeared to be hungry for wickets and even on pitches that have been less supportive for pacers, the India international has looked tireless. "Skill-wise, I worked on my action and on my body as well. I started doing yoga and it's helping a lot. My run-up and wrist position have changed," he offered.

Vinay, Mithun's partner-in-crime, said he has got the tactics right. "If you look back at the previous seasons, he is bowling a lot better. He is making the batsmen play often and for an in-swinger it's very important to bowl at the stumps. This change has done him good," Vinay noted.

Mithun was grateful for a good support system. "Arvind (Karnataka team-mate) also has helped me a lot. Right through the Karnataka Premier League (KPL), I would talk to Arvind and he kept egging me on to do well. During the Thimmappiah tournament, I spoke to Sanath Kumar (former Karnataka paceman and coach) and he offered me good tips," he said.

Karnataka have all-but sealed their quarterfinal spot. It remains to be seen if Mithun maintains the same level of fitness and consistency as the eight-time champions target another Ranji Trophy title after two forgettable editions.