There is a sense of calm assurance in Vathsal Govind’s batting.

That is something Kerala’s batting line-up in red-ball cricket really needs, especially when someone like Rohan Prem is no longer in the eleven. With a fine hundred in his first innings on return, Vathsal showed why he had been thought of so highly. The fact is, he shouldn’t have been dropped after his debut match three years ago.

He is rock solid in defence, built on technique. And he has an excellent temperament. In a batting line-up featuring aggressive batters like Sanju Samson, Vishnu Vinod and now Rohan Kunnummal, Vathsal has an important role to play. He has done that so far in the two innings he has had in Rajkot so far.

The 22-year-old is delighted that he could contribute to Kerala’s two wins in as many games. “I was very happy that I could score a century (106 not out) against Meghalaya and help my team get a big first-innings lead,” Vathsal told  Sportstar  on Tuesday.

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Though he only made 25 in the match against Gujarat, he put on 97 for the sixth-wicket with Vishnu Vinod and that proved crucial. “I was disappointed with the way I got out after doing all the work, but it felt great being part of a remarkable victory,” he said. “It was thrilling to watch that chase by Sachin and Rohan.”

Vathsal wants to continue to do well for Kerala, a team he chose to make a career with, after learning his cricket in Delhi. “I had played for the Delhi State, and it was there I trained for several years as a kid, under coaches like Tarak Sinha,” he said. “I am glad that I decided to play for Kerala, where my paternal family belongs.”

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He moved to Kerala six years ago and has been part of its age-group teams. He was, in fact the leading scorer, with 1235 runs, in the Cooch-Behar Trophy (Under-19) tournament  in 2018-19.
That show helped him earn a place in the India Under-19 team for the Test series against the touring South African side.

Since then, he has graduated to senior cricket with aplomb. He is now looking forward to Kerala’s last league match against Madhya Pradesh, starting on Thursday. “The team is in great spirit after the win against Gujarat,” he said. “We are all very confident.”