Indrajith: 'I just approached Mumbai like any other team'

This has been a breakthrough season for Indrajith. His 280-ball 200 for India Red against India Blue on Duleep Trophy debut saw him add a mind-boggling 178 runs for the last wicket with Vijay Gohil.

Baba Indrajith plays a shot against Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy match last week.   -  Prashant Nakwe

Baba Indrajith is efficient and organised at the crease. Unruffled by situations, he can slice open an attack without appearing to do so.

The 23-year-old right-hander from Tamil Nadu brings with him solidity and composure. Indrajith’s numbers in first class cricket – 2384 runs in 37 matches at 49.66 – underline his importance to the State line-up at No. 4.

This has been a breakthrough season for Indrajith. His 280-ball 200 for India Red against India Blue on Duleep Trophy debut saw him add a mind-boggling 178 runs for the last wicket with Vijay Gohil.

READ: Baba Indrajith happy with his knock and support

Indrajith has this ability to rally with the tail - he can rotate the strike, instil confidence in his partner, come up with calculated strikes.

Then, Indrajith’s commendable 152 was a crucial factor in Tamil Nadu gaining the lead in the away Ranji game against Mumbai.

Indrajith said to Sportstar, “There is a lot of build up and talk about the Mumbai side that creates hype. But I just approached Mumbai like any other team.”

Dwelling on his Duleep double, he said, “No. 11 Gohil showed he could defend well. I thought I would play my natural game. It was very satisfying particularly since my twin brother Aparajith had got a century on his Duleep debut.”

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Indrajith, who now has six first class hundreds, added, “My conversion rate, unlike in the past, is much better. I know that if I can play 160 to 170 deliveries, I can get a century. I prepare well, have a game-plan, keep it simple. Perhaps, I am stronger on on-side.”

The manner Indrajith uses his feet enables him create scoring opportunities. “My coach S. Balaji, former Railways cricketer, taught me footwork, both going forward and getting deep into the crease.”

Former South Zone and Tamil Nadu batsman J.R. Madanagopal too has been a huge influence. “He has deep knowledge of the game, has always been there for me. I have spent time with former India batsman Sujith Somasundar learning the mental aspect,” said Indrajith.

Aparajith grabbed the headlines earlier while Indrajith found initial success harder to come by. Indrajith said, “That phase toughened me up, taught me the value of patience. When you are twins, comparisons are natural. But between us there is no ego. We still share the same room in the house, enjoy each other’s success.”

By handing Indrajith Ranji vice-captaincy, the selectors had acknowledged his maturity. “I give my inputs to Abhinav [Mukund], suggest some changes in the field. Abhinav takes the final call.”

The small-made Indrajith is also an exceptional close in catcher, either in the slip cordon or at the short-leg or silly point. “Practice, positioning, balance and anticipation are very important,” he said.

The Indrajith story is getting better. At the heart of it is belief.