Captaincy gets the best out of me, says Mukund

Tamil Nadu captain Abhinav Mukund spoke to Sportstar on the changes he has made in his game ahead of the Ranji Trophy season and how he is reaping the rewards — averaging 62.57 so far in the season.

Abhinav Mukund has scored 438 runs this season so far.   -  R.V Moorthy

Opening the innings is a demanding occupation and Abhinav Mukund had to make some tough choices ahead of this season.

Abhinav comprehended the need for a solid game plan since he would be opening the innings on largely seamer-friendly netutral wickets in the Ranji Trophy this season.

“I knew I had to make some decisions. One of them was to take the big cover-drive out of my game. I have consciously avoided playing the stroke, which had previously fetched me a lot of runs, this season since it would be a risky option on pitches offering movement,” said Abhinav speaking to Sportstar here on Sunday.

Another decision the left-hander took was to ‘leave’ a lot more deliveries outside off. “Even during my innings here, I took 20 deliveries to get off the mark. I left a lot of deliveries outside the off-stump. This is a critical aspect of batsmanship on a seaming track and it has helped me.”

Abhinav, playing closer to his body, has definitely tightened his game on and outside the off-stump. He is also allowing the ball to come to him and is not pushing at the sphere. The southpaw now is a more rounded batsman than when he played the last of his five Tests for the country in 2011.

Indeed, the left-handed opener is in the middle of a fine run this season. He made 56 on juicy surface against Mumbai at Lahli, 100 versus Railways at Bilaspur, 154 at the expense of the Uttar Pradesh attack at Dharamshala and 100 against Baroda here, again on a seaming track.

While an India comeback is at the back of his mind, Abhinav does not allow it to put additional stress on him. “Who does not want to compete at the highest level. But right now my thoughts are on making runs for Tamil Nadu, enabling the team qualify for the next stage,” he said.

In fact, Abhinav has 438 runs in the ongoing Ranji season — this is his fifth match — at a whopping 62.57. Considering he has opened the innings for the State in hazardous batting conditions — facing the new ball on green-tops is high on the scale of difficulty — these are very creditable numbers.

Being the State captain has not put more pressure on him. In fact, Abhinav relishes the responsibility that comes with the territory. “Captaincy gets the best out of me,” he says.

Abhinav is eyeing glory in the days ahead.