Ranji Trophy: Disciplined Abhimanyu Easwaran keeps himself ready
Since the last edition of the Ranji Trophy, in 2019-20, Abhimanyu Easwaran hasn’t quite scored in bulk, like he did in the previous seasons which made him an India A regular, especially in terms of red-ball cricket.
Critics and detractors thus may argue that his inclusion as a standby in the Indian contingent for the upcoming tour of England was a tad unexpected. But Abhimanyu, on his part, was quite confident of his inclusion.
“Not really surprised... I was already a standby during the home series versus England. So I was pretty much expecting a call-up,” Abhimanyu told The Telegraph from Dehradun on Saturday.
Indifferent form in the last Ranji season was one of the reasons behind Abhimanyu losing his Bengal captaincy. He featured only in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the curtailed 2020-21 domestic season but turned out to be Bengal’s top run-getter (219 runs), averaging 43.80.
Like several other India A players, Abhimanyu too had no game time with the red ball and there’s also no surety on when he will next play the longer format, given the circumstances. However, he prefers to keep himself fully prepared in case an opportunity arrives.
“I’ve played only white-ball cricket this season. Now, coming back to red-ball cricket, I sat down with my coach and we discussed a few things. It’s more about being disciplined while batting, which we are working on.
“Also, I’m having my training sessions here a little early in the morning in order to make it a bit more challenging for myself and try and make it as close as possible to the conditions I may face in England. There has been some rain here for the last two-three days which does have an effect on the conditions,” Abhimanyu emphasised.
Former national selectors MSK Prasad and Devang Gandhi also backed the Chetan Sharma-led committee’s decision to retain Abhimanyu. “He has been around in the India A circuit for the last three years. So I don’t really foresee any surprise in his selection.
“In fact, Priyank (Panchal) and he were in the queue after Mayank (Agarwal) and Prithvi Shaw. So probably, they (current selectors) are following that pattern,” Prasad, a former chief selector, said.
It was during Prasad’s tenure as chief selector that Abhimanyu progressed and cemented his place in the India A team. “Abhimanyu may not be a flamboyant batsman, he’s mainly an accumulator. But he has done well for India A and been consistent too,” Prasad added.
“Just because a player has had one bad season, you can’t discard him straightaway,” said Gandhi. “I’m glad there’s some continuity in terms of team selection.
“Abhimanyu is a hardworking, talented guy and a good fielder too. So I would rather say he deserves to stay in the squad,” Gandhi emphasised.
Bengal head coach Arun Lal’s words should boost Abhimanyu a great deal. “He’s a class act and has just gone through a long lean patch.
“But in the final (of the CAB First Division One-Day tournament), he was simply dominant during his unbeaten 167 and that’s what stands out.
“Whether he’s captaining or not, he’s good enough to do everything. Next season is going to be his, watch out for him,” Lal said.