Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Abhinav Mukund dropped from TN one-day team

Finally, the TN Selectors take the big-bold call
A blessing in disguise for the Southpaw to focus once again on the longer version of the game!!

For the first time in his short career, Abhinav Mukund has been dropped from the Tamil Nadu team. He has been left out of the team for the ongoing South Zone one day tournament and it is unlikely, with TN having qualified easily for the inter zonals, he will be called back. 

While it may have come as a shock for a few, given that he was in the contention for the TN captaincy at the beginning of the season, this could well turn out to be a blessing in disguise for him.

Since the advent of IPL, Abhinav has tried, quite unsuccessfully, to adjust/modify his game to the shorter format. It was obvious to those who watched him closely that he was not made out for that version of the game but it has taken a few years for him to accept that reality.

Unfortunately for Tamil Nadu and for himself, Abhinav tried to experiment this in the longer form of the game- the Ranji Trophy, an immediate example that comes to mind is his first over dismissal against Rajasthan in the Ranji Final when TN was chasing over 600. It would have been ideal situation for him to have played out 200overs but he chose a one day shot in the first over the innings a clear indication that he was in that kind of mind set at that time.

In a challenger trophy match this season, chasing 350+ in 50overs, Abhinav scored 80+ at just under run a ball not good enough chasing 7+ an over, especially given that he batted for 30+overs.It was here in the one-dayers that he could have tried his experimentation, unfortunately he tried the other way around.

He has been for a long time now trying to do something that is so unAbhinav like.

At the beginning of the season, when I brought up the issue of form, it was justified by the powers that be that he was one of the few in the country in the recent past who had scored the kind of runs that he has amassed in such a short time frame. Fair Point - And he is still not 25!!!

A few matches into the season, he scratched around through the whole of day 1 to score a century in 90overs. That was understandable, said a source in the TNCA who backed him at the beginning of the season. The fact that he went on to score a double century was also so typical of him to convert a century into a big knock, the source said.

However, what he failed to do was to follow up that knock in the latter part of the season especially when it mattered.

And the shot he played against Bengal in the QF possibly made the selectors take the big call to drop him. It was a one day shot in a Ranji match, notwithstanding the supposed turning track. It was okay for LR Shukla to play the kind of knock he played, one that turned out to be the match winning knock for Bengal. But not Abhinav or a Badri ( the latter too perished with an untypical Badri shot in that innings).

The source said that it was disappointing to see him play that kind of a stroke- a cross batted sweep that found the only fielder in the deep on the leg. ‘It would have been fine for a Vijay or a Dinesh to play that kind of strokes but not Abhinav.’

This may well be a blessing in disguise for Abhinav. If he takes the time off here at the end of the season to analyse his strengths (and limitations), he may well find that making big scores in Ranji would be the way forward for him. And he should be eyeing the Indian Test squad rather than the IPL or the one day squad.

It would be good for him to use the next year to get back to the kind of cricket that has fetched him runs every time he has gone to bat including several of the big innings he has played for TN in Ranji - patience, long knocks, sticking to strokes that have brought him boundaries.

It is unlikely that he will find a place in the TN T20 squad this year unless something dramatic happens in the next fortnight-month.( Without him, TN has qualified for the national one-dayers winning its first three matches last week in the South Zone Qualifiers)

Abhinav will do well to get back to the basics even in the remaining matches in the 1st division league here. And then focus the summer and the beginning of next season on scoring big runs to get back his place in the test squad.

Hope good sense will prevail. If it does, Abhinav may still have a long career ahead of him at the test level, for there is little doubt about his ability to play the long innings. If he still has his mind on proving himself in T20 and One-dayers, he may lose time to get back into the test squad. And he may, like he has done in the last two Ranji seasons lose his sense of run making in the Ranji format of the game as well.

One hopes that the powers that be in TN cricket will take him into confidence and direct him on the right path which really is in the longer form of the game.

PS: L Balaji and Badrinath should also be hanging by the thread given their performances in the last 1-2years
Will the TN selectors take a call on them as well.. Watch out for this section in the coming months!!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice article .Deserved to be dropped for few games. This is my view.

(From the US)