Mithun reveling in his new role

The moniker of the senior pacer has helped Abhimanyu Mithun find another gear in her performance. DH Photo/ Tajuddin Azad

For some sportspersons responsibilities bring out the best in them. It makes them find that extra gear. Abhimanyu Mithun, the sole leader of the Karnataka pace attack following the departures R Vinay Kumar and S Aravind, has taken a special liking to his new role this season.

In the season-opening Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 30-year-old strapping right-armer led Karnataka’s pace attack with gusto, picking up 20 wickets in nine matches with a superb economy of 3.93. He then flourished in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, bagging 10 wickets in eight games. The highlight of the tournament was the scintillating five-wicket over against Haryana in the semifinals.

A back spasm ruled him out of the final and the opening Ranji Trophy game against Tamil Nadu but the pacer has made a brilliant return in the ongoing match against Uttar Pradesh here at the KSCA Stadium. On a wicket not offering much help for the pacers, he bent his back, extracted good bounce and kept asking difficult questions.

On the opening day, he beat the bat several times and edges dropped short but the lion-hearted pacer toiled on relentlessly. His late burst helped Karnataka claw back after being luckless and his heroics on the second morning saw the hosts bowl out Uttar Pradesh for 281. The pacer, rejoicing every scalp exuberantly like a kid, finished with 6/60.

Mithun admitted extra responsibilities has helped him gain more potency this season. “I’ve trained a lot in the off season and the results have come. Being a senior bowler, I knew I had to give my best on the field, be it one-dayers or T20. All the youngsters will look (up) to me. If I give my 100 per cent, they will also give their best. The added responsibility has helped me.”

Mithun attributed the work done on his running techniques as the difference maker. “I’ve worked on my running techniques. As a fast bowler it’s important to have the right technique. I’ve been working very hard on it and the results are showing. It’s good I’m picking up wickets. It gives me more confidence.”

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