Two matches. That was the experience the three had between them in the Ranji Trophy.
But, Edhen Apple Tom, Rohan Kunnummal and Vathsal Govind played crucial roles in Kerala’s innings win over Meghalaya, which came with a day to spare here on Saturday. Edhen, 17, was making his First Class debut, while Rohan, 23, and Vathsal, 22, had played just one match each, the former two years ago and the latter three years ago.
It was, of course, Edhen’s show that made the biggest headlines – after all he became the first from Kerala to take a wicket with the first ball in First Class cricket – but the contributions of Rohan and Vathsal were just as important.
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It’s not often that as many youngsters come good at the same time in Kerala cricket. Edhen, Vathsal and Rohan have shown what the youth could do when given an opportunity.
The fact is, someone like Vathsal should have been part of the Kerala batting line-up long before. He shouldn’t have been dropped after just one innings in 2018.
He is the kind of batter Kerala needs. He has the technique and temperament needed for the game’s longer version. He showed that during his unbeaten 106 here.
After a mid-innings collapse, in which Kerala lost three quick wickets, Vathsal held the lower half of the batting together and ensured there was no need for a second innings for his team. If patience was the hallmark of his batting, Rohan’s innings was studded with some gorgeous strokes, especially square off the off-side. He is a delight to watch. His 107 off 97 balls, opening the innings, certainly was.
He has already had success in white-ball cricket, but he proved he could do well in the longer format, too. He seems an ideal partner for the solid opener P. Rahul; they complement each other well and the 201 runs they added could be the first of many useful partnerships for Kerala.
Rohan had completed his attractive hundred towards the end of the opening day. Edhen had bowled his way into record books before that.
After taking that first-ball wicket, he claimed three more to finish with four for 41. In the second innings too, he picked up a wicket with the first ball and was named Man of the Match. He is deceptively quick and could surprise the batter with movement, too.
“He doesn’t complicate his bowling, maybe because he is young,” said Kerala’s coach Tinu Yohannan, who deserves credit for backing him, Vathsal and Rohan. “It was great to watch all the three of them doing so well, and that too together.”