Abhinav Mukund seemed a little out of place in that Metro Plus interview in The Hindu earlier this month, though I am sure he would have had hundreds of 'FANS' praising him on his front page cover piece.
While we were earlier accustomed to Abhinav talking about his penchant for the Lara like cover drive or his cut and pull, we were out here reading his interest in cars and tech gadgets and how he has had to miss birthdays, begging the question if fame had already got the better of him and if he too was falling into the 'Glorious Trap' that many promising young Indian cricketers over the years had become prey to.
There is no doubt that Abhinav has worked hard every single week over the last 15years and his Test call earlier this year was a well deserved one for all the efforts he had put in and yes for all the birthday sacrifices he had made.
To accept The Hindu Metro Plus Life Style interview (however hard the journalist may have pushed him) was poor media management on Abhinav’s part.
In just his first year of International cricket ( and he has already failed to retain his place in the Indian squad having now been left out of the tour to Australia), Abhinav would do well to focus on his game rather than giving fashion and life style interviews to the media that showcases his non cricketing side and how that side of his life is charging his cricketing energy.
In the interview, Abhinav says, ‘Travelling for cricket, I have celebrated my birthday away from home many a time.’ I thought folks here in Madras went to the temple on their birthdays though it seems from this interview that not celebrating birthday with the family is a sacrifice for a cricketer whose aim it was to play for India and that he has now reconciled himself to not being able to celebrate birthdays with his family.
Unlike in the past, say two decades ago when players played cricket for passion (I made my league debut batting alongside a person who was 70years old at that time and where each cricketer brought lunch from home for the league matches!!!), cricketers these days have turned professional and are paid huge sums of money even before they have turned 25!!!
So to make a point about ‘Celebrating birthdays away from home’ and positioning it like a big sacrifice is a kind of comment that Abhinav would do well to avoid. When did celebration of a birthday with family become bigger than wanting to play for India? Why is Abhinav even getting into such topics in a media interview (His typical response would be that he was just answering a question from a journalist!!!)
There is also the point about ‘no memories of hanging out’.
We haven’t heard of stories of Dravids and Laxmans and Tendulkars hanging out during their college days. So Abhinav, what’s the big deal of not having memories of hanging out with college mates. Playing for India is much better than hanging out at Shanthi Vihar!!!
If this was not enough, there were more shocks to come in the interview. Abhinav goes on to talk about his Playstation 3, thriller-novels, addiction to films and his fascination for gadgets.
How nice it would have been for us to hear how he is sharpening his technique to not be inner edging or playing away from body and leaving bat pad gaps often enough as we saw him in England rather than knowing how frequently and at what speed he zips down ECR or what car does he have now.
Many years ago I heard him say watching Brian Lara on Video charged him and motivated him. Today driving alone on his Honda Jazz on the ECR charges him!!! What a change.
But what was the ultimate shocker was the way he signed off in the interview suggesting that he loves the attention that his cricketing achievements have given him.
If playing 6tests in a year and then being discarded can lead him to comments like ‘it will be a blatant lie if I said I didn’t like the attention’, how will he be when he scores his 25th test ton.
Abhinav, its time you got back to focusing on your cricket. It would be good if you stayed far away from Life Style interviews to media. Let the bat do the talking for you like it did when you scored that double hundred a couple of weeks back at Chepauk to get TN the crucial first innings lead against Amit Mishra's Haryana.
We want to know how hard you are working on your technique.
We are more interested in your appetite for runs rather than the cars and tech gadgets you own!!!