Despite a scintillating show with the bat by Abhinav Mukund — 560 runs from nine matches this season — and 22 wickets by leg-spinner Varun Chakravathi, Tamil Nadu failed to make it to the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The side which started out as one of the favourites, succumbed to injuries, believes 28-year-old Abhinav, who is by far the highest run-getter of the season. Pacer Yo Mahesh joined T Natarajan and Vignesh K on the injured list when he suffered a knee injury against Assam and was ruled out of the tournament.
Prior to this, while left-armer Natarajan had injured his fingers, Vignesh — who had also represented India Green in the recently concluded season of the Duleep Trophy — had suffered a Grade 1 tear on his left thigh.
“I think we lost a couple of close games. We could have pulled it off against Jharkhand and definitely (against) Jammu and Kashmir as well. But then again, yes, we were completely outplayed against Haryana no doubt. I feel if we could have been a lot more proactive and not lost three of our best bowlers to injury, things would have been very different,” said Abhinav.
Abhinav had not managed to get big numbers under his belt for India Red during his Duleep Trophy outing, but, the batsman left his demons far behind as he tore into opposition bowlers at the Vijay Hazare Trophy matches, mustering an average of 70 on pitches which hardly had anything to offer.
On whether that would be enough to please the selectors, the southpaw said, “Selection is not in my hands. All I can do is score runs. And if I do good, definitely people will take notice. All I know is that I would look forward to continue enjoy batting.”
Abhinav has represented the national team in seven Tests, averaging 22.85 with a highest score of 81, which he collected in the second innings against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2017. He, however, soon lost out on his spot. He has also featured in the IPL for both Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
On whether being a popular face adds to the pressure to perform, Abhinav says, “It’s always good that you have a reputation. It is earned over a few years. People know me and my game. I see it more as a challenge than pressure.”